It’s been a while since The Family knocked off Riverside Church. In fact, six years have gone by for The Family. And for a while in the first half of today’s playoff round at the Super Showcase in Orlando, Florida, it looked like Riverside Church would continue its dominance. However, due to the efforts of Joe Crawford and especially Malik Hairston, The Family prevailed. The Family erased a 15-point Riverside lead that peaked in the second quarter.
Hairston continued to impress this summer with his play from the wing. He scored 25 points, including a couple of key three-pointers in the second half when The Family made its run. “I would like to be more consistent,” Hairston said. “But I try to work on every part of my game.”
There were several high profile programs and coaches in the audience to watch Hairston. Staffs from Connecticut, Kentucky, Kansas, Cincinnati, UCLA, Michigan, and Michigan State were on hand to watch Hairston’s brilliant performance. “I am pretty much wide open,” Hairston said. “There are a lot of schools I am interested in – Kansas, Michigan State, Uconn, UCLA, Michigan…Kentucky. Kentucky has gotten involved recently so I have to sit down with my cousin and father and talk about where I will visit.”
Indiana, Missouri, and Purdue have been mentioned previously by Hairston. "There are many schools I like," he said. "I just need time to sort it out."
Hairston has a quick first step to the basket. He seems to gather in many rebounds which lead to put backs in the paint for him. But over the last day his shot has improved and he is confident in taking it as he displayed today against Riverside Church. “I think most schools think I can play the combo guard position,” Hairston stated. “It really doesn’t matter where I play I just want to play and have a chance to win a national championship.”
When asked if he grew up being a fan of any school, he responded: “Michigan. But lately Michigan State has been winning. And I want to win. I grew up being a Big Ten fan but that is not going to decide my decision. I have to do what’s best for me. I want to go into a situation where I am comfortable.”
Hairston has visited three schools – Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. “They were all great trips for me,” Malik said. “I learned a lot about the schools and have had a chance to speak to the coaches. I got to know them all.”
Malik said he has spoken to all the schools in the above list except one – Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith. “I heard they were very interested in me but so are the others,” Hairston said. “I want to cut the list when I get back from this tournament.”
Hairston will next play in today’s quarterfinals.