LEXINGTON, Ky. — Sharpshooting Malik Monk chose Kentucky because he felt it was the best place to hone other basketball skills beyond his impressive offensive talents.
Scoring has always come easy for the Wildcats freshman guard, who also wants to become a better rebounder, passer and "lockdown" defender. Even when Monk's perimeter shots are falling, he wants to share the ball and encourages teammates to shoot to ensure sure he's not the only one having fun.
"If defenses play me to pass the ball, I'm going to pass it," Monk said Tuesday. "Coming to Kentucky, you're surrounded by great players and everybody doesn't have to focus on you. If the defense focuses on you, somebody else can have a great game and that feels great."
Still, Monk is the focus of opponents. The Lepanto, Arkansas native enters tonight's 50th Bluegrass showdown at No. 10 Louisville (7, ESPN) averaging a team-best 21.9 points. At that pace, he could the highest-scoring college player coach John Calipari has ever had. Dajuan Wagner averaged 21.2 for Calipari at Memphis in 2001-02.
Monk is basking in a higher profile resulting from a 47-point game in a victory over North Carolina on Saturday.
LAKSA LEADS USF: Kitija Laksa scored 19, Ariadna Pujol had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 21 USF beat Santa Clara 63-54 in the Play4Kay Shootout in Las Vegas. Dorottya Nagy added 13 points for USF (9-1), which shot just 39 percent from the field but was 14 of 17 on free throws. USF led 36-28 at halftime, led by Laksa's 11 points, and Laia Flores made a third-quarter layup to give the Bulls a 45-35 lead — their first double-digit advantage since 16-6. The Broncos (4-6) lost their third straight, shooting 32.8 percent.
No. 10 UCLA 83, N.C. A&T 42: Monique Billings and Kari Korver scored 15 apiece to lead five players in double figures for the visiting Bruins (9-2).
No. 11 Miami 76, Maine 51: Jessica Thomas reached 1,000 career points, and the Hurricanes (11-1) won the Miami Holiday Tournament championship.
FISHER HAPPY: Jimbo Fisher lauded FSU president John Thrasher for "seeing the big picture" the day after the school announced the coach's extension. Fisher signed a two-year extension that will keep him at the school through 2024. It is the second time in two years Fisher had his contract redone by Thrasher.
"We've really built something really special and I want to continue it for a long time," Fisher said. "I think president Thrasher has been awesome."
Since Fisher took over in 2010, FSU has redone its practice fields, built an indoor facility, overhauled the locker room and added a player's lounge.
RUTGERS VIOLATIONS: The NCAA informed Rutgers that an 18-month investigation into the department of athletics has found seven potential violations. The investigation and potential violations focused on former coach Kyle Flood (who was fired after the 2015 season), a student-athlete host program and inconsistencies in drug testing procedures and policies.