Hairston Comes Into His Own

Malik Hairston's been on the map for a while now. However, it wasn't until early May that he really began to vault himself into the elite limelight.

The first time we saw Malik Hairston was last summer at the Nike Hoop Jamboree. As a rising junior, he was easily one of the five most gifted offensive players at the camp. He scored like Carmelo Anthony did at the same age.

Hairston, extremely young to be a rising senior, is a talent. Two months ago at the Boo Williams Invitational, he began a rapid ascent. Previously, the big headliners for The Family's AAU team had been Ron Coleman and Joe Crawford.

Both Coleman and Crawford are headed to Michigan and are big time players in their own right. However, at the Boo Williams event, you could see that the torch was preparing to be passed. Malik Hairston was coming into his own.

Finally, at Spiece, with plenty of sets of eyes watching him, Hairston exploded. He did so against Robert Vaden, a young man who recently committed to Indiana. On Friday night, it was Vaden who went for over 30 in a game. On Saturday, Hairston took his seat at the main table.

"I think because it was held at center stage [he was able to blow up]," The Family coach Speedy Walker said. "It gave everyone a chance to see him and he was just at his best. No doubt, that was the one where everyone said he was special."

In their match up, Hairston did a little bit of everything. He scored big, made 3s and rebounded. Like Carmelo, when Hairston rebounds, he's at his best. He's athletic and long and that makes him tough to handle at a number of positions. Plus, he plays under control and with vision.

Once he got rolling and Vaden's jumper from downtown was failing him on this occasion,

Hairston's legend began to grow. Since that game, Malik's taken himself to a new level nationally. At worst, this is one of the Top 20 prospects in the country and rising.

Hairston's a talent and he's improving rapidly. "I saw him last week and he was better last week than he was there," Walker said. "It's one of those classic cases of basketball."

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