The Razorback football team will face Tennessee-Martin at Razorback Stadium on Saturday, but that’s not the only reason Homecoming weekend is huge for the Hogs this year.
It’s also the weekend that possibly the most high-profile recruit in Arkansas history will make his official visit with the Razorback basketball team.
Bentonville guard Malik Monk, a consensus 5-star recruit considered by many to be among the top five high school basketball players and the best shooting guards in the country, is expected to be on campus to consider the Hogs this weekend.
Monk, originally from Lepanto in East Poinsett County, Arkansas, and the brother of former Razorback two-sport star Marcus Monk, has drawn interest from colleges since he was in junior high.
He moved to Northwest Arkansas before his sophomore season in 2013, and has been playing as a Bentonville Tiger since then.
Monk averaged close to 27 points per game as a junior last year as he led his team to the the 7A Championship game.
He is a rare talent, with a unique combination of athletic ability, basketball IQ, unselfishness, and skill that has been wowing college and NBA scouts for years.
He has more than 10 scholarship offers from some of the biggest college basketball programs in the country, and recently named his top six favorite schools: Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas, Oregon, Florida State, and North Carolina.
He will likely be a one-year college player, and all indications are he’ll be a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA draft no matter where he goes to college.
Most recruiting experts expect Monk to choose either Arkansas or Kentucky. He visited the Wildcats two weeks ago, and reports indicate he may be favoring the Wildcats after his experience there.
As the brother of Marcus Monk and a cousin of former Razorback guard Rashaad Madden, Monk is already very familiar with the Arkansas program, but Hog head coach Mike Anderson will likely pull out all the stops to impress him on his official visit.
Anderson this week announced that the Hogs’ Saturday morning practice, at which Monk is expected to be in attendance, will be open to the public. The practice is set for 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena, just a couple hours before the football team kicks off their homecoming game at 3 p.m.
Monk is also expected to be treated to dinner at The Catfish Hole on Friday night, a tradition for Razorback recruits where he will no doubt be greeted by plenty of Hog fans.
With Monk’s program-changing talent and connections at Arkansas, it’s no secret he is one of Anderson’s biggest priorities in the 2016 recruiting class (Anderson and the entire Arkansas team showed up to one of Monk’s high school games last year.)
Monk has said that he doesn’t expect to decide on a school until next spring after his high school season is over.
Whether or not he ends up at Arkansas, however, may very well be decided in part by the reception he gets in Fayetteville this weekend.