Kentucky lands five-star guard Malik Monk

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Less than 24 hours after beating No. 5 Duke at the Champions Classic in Chicago, the Kentucky basketball program received some very good news on the recruiting front.

Five-star guard Ahmad Monk announced that he’ll play his college basketball under the tutelage of John Calipari, picking the Wildcats over Arkansas. Monk is an Arkansas native, currently attending Bentonville HS and having played for the Arkansas Wings grassroots program, and he was seen as a program-altering recruit for Mike Anderson.

But in the end, the opportunity to play at Kentucky and contend for a national title won out. Kansas and Oregon were also in contention for Monk’s commitment, but many saw this as a two-horse race between the SEC programs.

The 6-foot-4 Monk joins fellow guard and close friend De’Aaron Fox and forwards Sacha Killeya-Jones, Wenyen Gabriel and Bam Adebayo in Kentucky’s 2016 class. One could also add Tai Wynyard to this class, as he’ll redshirt this season after he joins the Kentucky program in December. Monk is one of the best athletes in the 2016 class, and his ability to play either on or off the ball should mesh well with the talents of Fox.

Of course when it comes to Kentucky the returnees part of the equation is a fluid situation, with Tyler Ulis (sophomore), Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray and Charles Matthews (freshmen) all having eligibility remaining beyond the current season. Who stays and who heads to the NBA will impact the way in which Calipari crafts his strategy for the 2016-17 season, but given Kentucky’s use of the dribble drive motion system there’s certainly room for multiple ball-handlers on the floor at the same time.

Monk is ranked sixth in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com.