It was an emotional scene in the Kentucky locker room as tears flowed from Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo following their devastating loss to North Carolina. Monk and Fox declined to declare their intentions for the NBA Draft after the game.
While neither player committed to returning to Kentucky, both players declined to discuss their future instead focusing on the difficult loss to North Carolina.
“I don’t know if it’s my last game. I haven’t talked to coach, my mom or my brother,” Monk said after the game.
When pressed further about his intentions for the draft, Monk reiterated his initial comments.
“Like I said, I ain’t talk to coach, my mom or my brother yet so I don’t know,” Monk stated.
As many have pointed out, it would be a surprising decision for either player to return to Kentucky next season. In my latest mock draft, Fox is predicted to go fifth with Monk going sixth.
“Nah, I’m not thinking about that [NBA future]. I just came in here and, after Coach Cal talked, we told each other we love each other and we hugged each other. We’re not thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Fox said.
In the press conference prior to Kentucky’s matchup with North Carolina, Calipari alluded to the idea that Kentucky would likely have a few less players coming back next season but did not specify players.
While playing in the league is a dream for Monk and Fox, it is important to keep in mind college games matter to the majority of players regardless of their NBA future. These comments came in the locker room just a few minutes after missing out on a trip to the Final Four. It is possible to have future ambitions that, yes, allow yourself to be financially secure while also passionately wanting to win with your college teammates.
“Everyone was talking about how we didn’t care. Does this look like a locker room of guys that don’t care,” Fox said fighting back tears.
Fox finished with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. He had 39 points and four assists in Kentucky’s Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA. Fox outplayed UCLA’s highly touted point guard Lonzo Ball who has already declared for the draft.
Monk is known for his scoring ability and shooting range. His weakness has been his consistency but has shown enough promise to make him a top ten pick if he declares for June’s draft. Fox made the biggest statement of anyone in the tournament with his performance against Ball. He possesses elite quickness but shot just 23 percent from behind the three-point line this season.
Here is a look at Fox’s full comments on the NBA Draft:
As the locker room doors opened, this was the emotional scene between Fox and Adebayo:
Heavy breaks down Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and all the top college prospects in our latest NBA mock draft.