This guy is INCREDIBLE. He is an absolutely massive talent -- and that's not credit enough. He is 6'5", great frame, phenomenal scoring instincts, great court vision, capable handle, great athleticism. He has a Paul Pierce-like body control, quick hands on defense, and is a very good one-on-one player. He is just an outstanding talent with an uncanny, almost Langford-esque knack for getting to the bucket and converting.
Malik scored on a great variety of moves. In the first game he flew down the lane for the for dunk and then nailed a three. In the subsequent games he did everything from reverse layups in traffic to mid-range jumpers on the run with defenders in his face. He had an absolutely beautiful one-on-one move where he juked his defender and drove left with his guy on his hip, elevated, double-clutched and converted the layup. It was pure Paul Pierce. On another play he had the ball in the paint and whipped a no-look bullet pass behind his head to a teammate for the easy basket.
He appeared very businesslike, level-headed and composed. He did not seem out of place whatsoever. His dad was there. Tad made a point to tell him that we were all impressed with his son, and he said thanks and was very appreciative of the comment. Despite his youth, Malik was one of the best players on the court, and his performance was indicative of someone who'd been playing as part of the team for years. He's that good -- and he also fit in.
Malik Hairston is a HUGE get for whoever ends up with him.
- Aural Tooth
Malik is EVERYTHING which has been described. I didn't think he was overly active on the court either and that is scary when he gets really going. He was rather quiet on the sidelines sitting with his father and usually one of the coaches. When the game started Danny was sitting there.
I was very impressed that Lew Perkins was there the entire time. He sat with Mr. Hairston and Malik. I've never seen another AD attend a recruting pickup game.
Going in, I expected to see Malik Hairston doing one of two things: 1) Jacking up guarded 23-footers or 2) Getting lost running from one end of the floor to another. In other words, I expected him to play like a recruit. He did not.
Hairston played primarily on Miles and Langford's team and he truly looked like he belonged. The best thing that I can say to describe is play is that he exhibited phenomenal decision-making ability on the court. He wasn't incredibly flashy or spectacular, but he was very solid...very solid playing with and against players coming off back to back Final Fours. Malik did not force a single shot, but took advantage of some open mid-range looks and also showed the ability to get to the basket. The guy was a force on both the offensive and defensive boards. Perhaps the best play that he made occured when he grabbed an offensive board and dished to a streaking teammate for an easy layup. Oh yeah, he passed the ball before coming down with the rebound.
I'm not ready to call the guy the next Paul Pierce. He has to prove that himself. I will say, however, that Hairston is an extremely mature player who seems to already possess many of the intangibles that are necessary for greatness. I'll let the coaches and gurus evaluate his basketball skills, but Malik seems to be the complete package.
I would say 200-300 people were there. Hairston was into it, pretty serious and not trying to do too much but showing a lot in the flow of the game. He didn't seem nervous at all. He was hustling too. He is really good.
Malik Hairston is officially the shizzy. If a college basketball virgin had happened to walk into AFH today not knowing who was who, he would have walked away saying: "that kid in the navy shorts was incredible." Some things that stood out were his aggressive offensive rebounding and his overall basketball smarts. He NEVER forced anything. He knew what to do when he got the ball whether it be shoot, drive or pass. Defensively, WOW. He came out of nowhere to block a Bahe lay-up -- pinned it against the glass and brought it down for a rebound. Oh yeah, his shot is butta.
Malik Hairston is the real deal. He's ready to go D1 right now -- I feel EXTREMELY sorry for any high school kid who has to go against him. Wherever he ends up, look out!