Evin Demirel: Malik Monk Isn’t the First to Take His Talents to…

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In the last month, the highly recruited Malik Monk – who last season had one of the most dominant freshman seasons in Arkansas prep basketball history – made headlines by moving from his east Arkansas hometown of Lepanto to Bentonville. His motive is no different than 99% of all the other tens of thousands of people who have recently moved to Benton County – socioeconomic opportunity.

His older brother Marcus Monk, a former Razorback football star who lives in Fayetteville, said there are better jobmalik monk opportunities for his mother in Bentonville and that Malik will have better academic opportunities at Bentonville High School.

“It’s a better situation for both of them,” Marcus Monk told NWA Media’s Henry Apple. Apple added Jacaynlene Monk had worked in the East Poinsett County School District, where she made $14,649 over a 178-day contract for the 2012-2013 school year. She’d looked for work elsewhere but was unsuccessful, Marcus Monk said.

Twenty five years ago, Malik Monk’s uncle – Chuck Monk – made a trans-state move in the opposite direction. The Lepanto native transferred from the University of Arkansas, where he’d been a redshirt freshman wingback-wide receiver, and enrolled at Arkansas State University in east Arkansas because he was homesick.

Lepanto is about 25 miles from ASU’s Jonesboro campus. [Associated Press; August 31, 1988]

Chuck Monk still lives in Jonesboro and is doing well, according to Marcus Monk.

There are lots of Monks in the Lepanto area, according to this message board post.

10 years ago…

“The much-awaited, highly anticipated debut of the 21st century Razorbacks Triplets” happened on a court in Cancun, wrote Wally Hall, columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Like the initial Triplets — Moncrief, Delph and Brewer — freshmen Ronnie Brewer (whose dad was part of the original trio), Vincent Hunter and Olu Famutimi will turn Arkansas basketball around.”

The three would-be saviors made their debut in a high school gym during the first of a 4-game preseason tour. Arkansas lost 73-69 to the Belize Teane Dolphins, a pro team, but signs were encouraging.

Brewer, of Fayetteville, scored his first points with a two-handed dunk just four seconds after tipoff. The Canadian Olu Famutimi, just seconds after checking in later in the first quarter, drained a corner three-pointer. Vincent Hunter, a Little Rock Fair alum, gave up 25-30 pounds to older, taller post players but finished the game with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

In all, these new Triplets finished with 26 points but they promise to get so much better as Hunter bulks up and Famutimi fully recovers from a knee injury that currently limits him to about 85% ability.

“The Razorbacks may not win more than one game here,” Hall wrote, “but it was obvious, the bleeding has stopped and the healing has begun.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; August 31, 2003]

ronnie_brewer (Malik Monk) Vincent Hunter (Malik Monk) Olu Famutimi (Malik Monk)



Two Arkansans scored in the Dallas Cowboys’ historic 52-13 win over the Oakland Raiders in Irving, Texas. Little Rock Central High graduate Reggie Swinton’s 96-yard kickoff return helped break the team record for points in a preseason game that was set by the 1971 club that went on to win the team’s first Super Bowl title.

As a rookie two years ago, Swinton set team records for kickoff returns (56), kickoff return yards (1,327) and combined kick return yards (1,741). He also developed a reputation for fumbling, which is a reason he isn’t a sure bet to make the 53-man roster heading into the season.

Oakland Raiders tailback Madre Hill, a former All-SEC Razorback from Malvern, is also fighting to make his team’s final roster. Hill, drafted in the seventh round by Cleveland in 1999, has appeared in just seven NFL regular-season games and has yet to carry the ball in a regular season game. He was on Cleveland’s practice squad in 2000 before catching on with the AFC champion Raiders last season.

He’s listed as Oakland’s third running back behind Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner, but to make the final cut will likely have to beat out rookie Justin Fargas. Hill, 6-1 and a slimmed-down 205 pounds, made a strong case against Dallas with six carries for 41 yards, two catches for eight yards and a touchdown.

Dallas (2-2) scored 31 points in the first half and scored on all five drives led by newly tabbed starting quarterback Quincy Carter. Rookie quarterback Tony Romo played the last quarter and a half and was 1 for 3 for 9 yards. [Associated Press; August 29, 2003]



In terms of collegiate experience, Elliot Jacobs is no longer a baby.

That doesn’t mean the third-year ASU football player has become immune from diaper rash.

Jacobs overcame a staph infection stemming from his son’s diaper rash to be tabbed as ASU’s starting quarterback heading into its season opener at Texas A&M. When 20 month old Caleb was hospitalized this summer, Jacobs was excused from practice just as the Indians were gearing up for their first scrimmage.

Learning to prioritize another person’s needs “made me more mature as a person,” Jacobs said. “I know, having a son, you can’t have the normal college life that college guys would like to have.”

Indeed, the El Dorado native believes his struggles with Caleb’s illness may ultimately sharpen his game. “That’s helped me on the football field where chaos is going on, I can step up and keep a cool head,” Jacobs said. “I’ve done that before with Caleb, there’s times I’ve wanted to just scream but you can’t do it. It really does help you out on the football field when there’s times that you just want to let loose, but as a quarterback you’ve got to keep your poise.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; August 29, 2003]

50 years ago…

Arkansas has held an SWC championship or co-championship three times in the last four years, and is the co-favorite along with Texas entering this season, but you wouldn’t know it by head coach Frank Broyle’s assessment of the first fall practice.
“Never in my memory has a Razorback team been in such poor condition,” Broyles said after he saw his team for the first time this fall. “All the coaches are very discouraged.” Broyles put the team through considerable running, but cut the first practice session short by 15 minutes.

Other Southwest Conference coaches were much more upbeat. Darrell Royal said his Texas team’s opening workouts are the best in his seven-year tenure. Texas is the defending Southwest conference champion.

Rice took a water break for the first time in the 19 years Eddie Wojecki has served as its trainer. It was part of ramped-up efforts to prevent heat exhaustion after two heat-related deaths occurred in the SWC last year. At SMU, head coach Hayden Fry used a gauge that showed temperature, humidity and wind movement. The squad took a rest every 30 minutes and drank freely of a salt solution. [Associated Press; Sept. 3, 1963]


Sonny Moss, who helped lead Blytheville’s American Legion baseball team to a state championship this summer, signed with the Boston Red Sox franchise. The 6’2”, 192-pound first baseman turned heads in nine games of area and state tournament play, smacking 19 hits, seven doubles, four home runs and a triple.

Moss is from Osceola but couldn’t play for his hometown because it got rid of its American Legion team a couple years ago. He follows in the footsteps of Thrace Ramsey, who many consider the greatest athlete in Osceola history. Ramsey played for the Boston Braves in the 1940s and is the only Osceola or Blytheville native to make it to the major leagues (Moss has been assigned to play next year in Waterloo, Iowa).

Moss was also a standout punter for Osceola High. He averaged 43.3 yards a kick despite not learning how to punt before his senior season. Fordyce native Ronnie Carter, who kicked for Alabama, first showed Moss how to punt while serving as a counselor at the American Legion’s Boys State. Carter has since transferred to the University of Arkansas.
Moss, too, attended the University of Arkansas as an engineering student. He didn’t participate in varsity athletics there. [Blytheville Courier-News; Sept. 3; 1963]

Trivia! When was the last time an Arkansan who’d attended college signed with a major pro team but hadn’t played for his/her university?


Demirel still hasn’t stopped Tweeting. His most recent blog post features outtakes from exclusive interviews with Bret Bielema, Travis Swanson and Sam Pittman.  

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