Malik Monk made waves, of course, at the 2013 Neosho Holiday Classic.

Malik Monk made waves, of course, at the 2013 Neosho Holiday Classic.
At that point, he was a sophomore for Bentonville (Arkansas), having transferred from Class 2 East Poinsett County to a Class 7 school. Monk averaged nearly 23 points and nearly three assists his freshman season and East Poinsett County finished second in the state.
Monk won the slam dunk contest at the Holiday Classic and Bentonville finished third overall in the tournament, as Monk’s 23 points propelled the Tigers past Bush-Fort Bend (Texas). Monk earned all-tournament honors.
At the time, Sagemont’s Prince Ali and G.G. Goloman were the center of attention … but all these years later, it’s Monk. (Ali and Goloman both remain at UCLA.)
After one season at Kentucky, Monk declared himself eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft and the Charlotte Hornets selected the 6-foot-3 guard with the 11th overall pick, the final of 11 straight freshmen at the top of the draft board.
The Hornets are owned by legend Michael Jordan — Monk said that he can’t believe he’ll play for Jordan and also said that he can beat arguably the NBA’s greatest player ever 1-on-1.
In his one season at Kentucky, Monk averaged a team-high 19.8 points, plus 2.5 rebounds, for the Wildcats and shot 45 percent from the floor (251 for 558), nearly 40 percent from 3-point range (104-262) and 82 percent from the line (148-180). Monk helped Kentucky finish with a 32-6 record and reach the Elite Eight, where the Wildcats lost 75-73 to Jordan’s alma mater, North Carolina.
• Like Monk in Neosho, former Jefferson City High standout O.G. Anunoby attracted a lot of attention when he played in the Kaminsky Classic at Joplin High School.
As a senior, Anunoby — under the weather in early January but still a force on the court — blocked a shot at the buzzer to seal a 38-37 win over McDonald County in the opening round.
The Mustangs limited Anunoby to six points, something they might remember since the Toronto Raptors made Anunoby the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
“We did a good job guarding Anunoby,” former McDonald County head coach Trent Barratt told Rick Peck at the time. “Our defensive effort was outstanding against a good team. Offensively, we just could not make the plays down the stretch.”
In that game against Jefferson City, Kole Keith led McDonald County with 12 points, while Dagan Stites and Austin Grotts each had eight. All three players can always say they outscored a NBA player when they faced one another.
Anunoby — considered possibly the steal of this year’s draft — played in 16 games during his sophomore season for the hallowed Indiana Hoosiers, averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds.
• With the 34th overall pick, the Sacramento Kings selected former Kansas point guard Frank Mason III.
Mason, then an incoming sophomore, helped out at the Collegiate All-Stars Basketball Clinic at Pittsburg (Kansas) High.
“It’s always fun to help these younger kids out because, once upon a time, we were in the same position as them,” Mason said in the Morning Sun. “It’s just a blessing to be able to do that.”
During his senior campaign, Mason earned all of the major national player of the year awards, including the Wooden Award and POY recognition from CBS Sports, USA Today, the Sporting News, the AP,  and the NABC.
Mason averaged 20.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season for the Jayhawks.
• We depart from the NBA Draft for a moment and head back to the collegiate level.
When Atascocita (Texas) came to Neosho in 2015, the Eagles were ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. Atascocita rolled to a Holiday Classic title and was the toast of Neosho.
Outstanding shooting guard Carsen Edwards finished his freshman season for Purdue (Edwards averaged 10.3 points for the 27-8 Boilermakers) and was just selected to the 12-man USA 19U World Cup Team.
Edwards’ former Atascocita teammate Fabian White signed with Houston during his senior year of high school.
By the way, dates for the 2017 Neosho Holiday Classic — the 63rd edition — have been set for Dec. 27-30.