Malik: One on One

<strong>OKLAHOMA CITY</strong> - Less than 24 hours after winning the Class B state championship in Michigan, uncommitted and highly touted Detroit Renaissance wing Malik Hairston was rather candid about his forthcoming decision, the factors that will influence it and his thoughts on Kansas in an exclusive Phog.net interview before the first McDonald&rsquo;s All-American Game practice on Sunday.

Interview with Malik Hairston

Phog.net: Now that your high school season is over, are you any closer to making your college decision?

Hairston: “My state championship was where all my focus had been going. Now, within the next two or three weeks, I should know where I’m going.”

Phog.net: It seems like you’ve had a timetable of the next two to three weeks all season. Why?

Hairston: “Winning a state championship was important to me, because I’d never won one until yesterday. Without a doubt that was my first priority.  Now, I’m going to look at college much more seriously.”

Phog.net: It’s rumored that you are only considering three schools, Kansas, Michigan and Ohio State. Is that true?

Hairston: “I’m still looking at five. Those schools are Kansas, UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Michigan, but that should be chopped down within the next week.”

Phog.net: You’re obviously in Oklahoma City this week for the McDonald’s All-American Game? Does that mean you will visit the Sooners?

Hairston: “I don’t think time is going to permit that. But I could after the Hoop Summit in San Antonio.”

Phog.net: Judging from the tone of your voice, a visit to Oklahoma doesn’t seem likely does it?

Hairston: “I don’t know, we’ll just have to see.”

Phog.net: What are your thoughts on Kansas right now?

Hairston: “Kansas is a great program. I like Coach Self and I feel like they will be able to compete for a national championship next year. That’s something that is very special to me.”

Phog.net: Talking about playing for a national championship brought a smile to your face. How important will that factor be in your decision?

Hairston: “Very important. I want to be part of a winning team. Now, that I’ve got a city and state championship, I want to go get a national championship or two. Then one day, go get a world championship.”

Phog.net: How do you see yourself potentially fitting in at Kansas?

Hairston: “Real well. I think I fit in there personality-wise and on the court.”

Phog.net: Is it true that your interest in Kansas has been re-sparked in recent weeks?

Hairston: “I wouldn’t say that. I’ve always liked Kansas.”

Phog.net: If you were to stick with your timetable of “the next two or three weeks” for your decision that means it would be close to April 14, which is obviously the first day of the late signing period. Is that a date you have been eyeing?

Hairston: “Kind of. I want to do it early. So signing on that first day is a possibility.”

Phog.net: Ultimately, what factors will determine your decision the most?

Hairston: “Just being comfortable and knowing I’m in a situation where I’m going to play significant minutes and be able to produce. I want to go somewhere where I can be a big part of the team and play for a winning program. My development as a player is really important too.”

Phog.net: Do you expect to start as a freshman?

Hairston: “(Long pause) I think that’s dependent on how I approach it. It (starting) wouldn’t hurt.”

Phog.net: Is staying close to home—i.e. Ohio State—a factor?

Hairston: “Not necessarily. Whatever the best situation for me is where I’ll go.”

Phog.net: “How will you approach making your decision?

Hairston: “I’ll definitely sit down with my family and the rest of my support system—my brothers, my AAU coach, Durand Walker, my high school coach, Mark White.”

Phog.net: Who will have the greatest influence in your decision?

Hairston: “God. I’m going to pray about it and I figure I’ll make the right decision.”

Phog.net: Which team is going to win the Final Four?

Hairston: “I’m going to have to go with Connecticut. I’m not sure Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor can be stopped. If they can, I haven’t seen it.”

Phog.net: What was the best part about your visit to Lawrence in September?

Hairston: “Playing with the guys. I really hit it off with Aaron Miles, Keith Langford and Wayne Simien. They made me feel like I was part of the team.”

Phog.net: Do you ever find yourself thinking about that?

Hairston: “Yeah, I had a good time there.”


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