Moncrief, Marvin Delph of Conway, Arkansas, and Ron Brewer of Fort Smith, Arkansas ("The Triplets"), along with head coach Eddie Sutton and assistant coach Gene Keady, resurrected the University of Arkansas basketball program in the 1970s from decades of modest success and disinterest, and helped lay the foundation for what became one of the country's premier college basketball programs through the mid-1990s. Moncrief's leadership on the court and electrifying play renewed interest in the Razorback program, and ushered in the winning tradition in the Arkansas basketball program. His jersey was retired not long after he graduated from school and went on to the NBA, and is still the only one. Moncrief was the school's all-time leading scorer until Todd Day broke his record in 1992. On Nov. 10, 2014 Moncrief was inducted into the Southwest ConferenceHall of Fame. On Feb 7, 2015 he was honored by Arkansas when Moncrief's name was put on a banner that was hung in Bud Walton Arena.
Moncrief's NBA career started with the Milwaukee Bucksin 1979 when he was drafted 5th overall. Moncrief spent the next ten seasons with the Bucks. In Game 3 of the first round of the 1982 NBA Playoffs, Moncrief made a running bank shot at the buzzer to beat the Philadelphia 76ers. After sitting out of the NBA for one year, Moncrief played one season with the Atlanta Hawks before retiring. The Bucks retired his no. 4 jersey in 1990, and rededicated it at halftime on January 19, 2008, when the Warriors, with whom he was a shooting coach, visited the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to play the Bucks.
During the 1980s, Moncrief was the leader of the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the third best winning percentage for the decade behind only the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Moncrief was known for his versatility on the court, particularly given his 6′4″ stature, but was most known for his tenacious defensive plays. Although he was thought of as one of the greatest Shooting Guards of his time, he was never able to get to the Finals, as the Bucks frequently came up short in the Eastern Conference Finals. Moncrief was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 1982–83 and 1983–84 seasons. He also made the All-Star team for five consecutive years and was named to the All-NBA first team for the 1982–83 season. Moncrief averaged over 20 points per game in four seasons of his career and finished his 11-season NBA career with an average of 15.6 PPG.
Among Moncrief's admirers was All-StarMichael Jordan who once described his on-court intensity to an L.A. Times reporter: "When you play against Moncrief, you're in for a night of all-around basketball. He'll hound you everywhere you go, both ends of the court. You just expect it."