CAMDEN, N.J. — The NBA world will get to know De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk next season.
Isaac Humphries got to do that last season at Kentucky. The big man worked out for the Sixers on Friday, the day after Monk and the day before Fox is expected to come to town.
There is a chance Monk or Fox could end up on the Sixers with the No. 3 pick or through a draft night move. Wherever they land, Humphries sees both making an immediate difference on their new team.
“They’re incredible players,” Humphries said. “They’re really good people.”
Humphries was a sophomore when Fox and Monk entered the program last season. He was impressed by how quickly the two freshmen made an impact. They were the Wildcats’ top two scorers (Monk 19.8 points per game, Fox 16.7). Monk led the team in three-point shooting (39.7 percent) and Fox ranked first in assists (4.6).
“De’Aaron’s so quick, he’s so agile,” Humphries said. “He controls the floor so well. He can jump, he’s athletic, he’s a great leader. I loved played with him just because of how he can shoot the ball and creating for his team.
“Malik’s obviously such an impressive player, the way he shoots and the way he kind of controls games and kind of takes it all on his own hands. He’s one of those players that just takes over. He’s a real asset to any team.”
After one year in college, the pair of 19-year-old guards are poised to become top-10 draft picks next week. Humphries has seen firsthand their development in only one season.
“Something that kind of is crazy to see at Kentucky, especially being on the inside, is seeing the pure development of the young guys,” Humphries said. “They come in AAU’s top players and they leave kind of seasoned pros. It’s really cool to see the transition and how [head coach John Calipari] develops and breaks them down and gets rid of their bad habits and focuses on their little habits to perfect. Both of them had such growth.”
In addition to basketball talent, NBA organizations consider prospects’ character when making a decision. The Sixers go through several interviews with players at various points throughout the draft process. Humphries believes Fox and Monk have personalities that will positively influence the culture of a team.
“They both just love it so much and it’s really infectious,” he said. “I know for me, I’m always seen as the very serious type. It’s really cool to come into the locker room and joke around. It lifts a little bit of pressure because you’re all so comfortable.”
The Sixers have also worked out former Wildcats Isaiah Briscoe and Dominique Hawkins over the last two weeks. Fox and Monk are projected to become the new faces of Kentucky basketball in the NBA.
“Like every Kentucky pro athlete, they’re going to be special,” Humphries said. “Those two especially.”