At McDonald's: Lunch with a Super-Sized Recruit

Monday's media luncheon and player interview session at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City provided a unique McDonald's All-American game experience. Players from both the boys and girls teams, media, family and scouts all sat down and shared a meal and conversation in a very relaxed atmosphere.

Perhaps the most popular player in the room was Malik Hairston. The 6-5 swingman is the most readily available player on the market and everybody wants to know what is on the Detroit star’s mind. Dogged every step of the way by a very interested, and UCLA bound, Jordan Farmar, Malik shared his thoughts on several subjects.

EB: First of all, how do you feel about the way your senior season went?

MH: It was the best season I have had so far, I mean we went undefeated so I can’t have any complaints. I won my first state champion so it was a great season altogether.

EB: Was that the number one thing on your mind, going out and getting that state championship?

MH: Most definitely, that is part of the reason my college decision hasn’t been made is because I have been 100% focused on winning the state championship.

EB: What about the whole McDonald’s experience?

MH: You can’t complain when you are a McDonald’s All-American, I mean you can’t nitpick really. It’s very enjoyable really, just playing with the best players from all around the country, this is very enjoyable.

EB: Who are you rooming with out here?

MH: Shaun Livingston, I know him pretty well. He’s a good guy a silly guy.

EB: How about Jordan (Farmar) here, has he been attached to your hip?

MH: Jordan, yeah he talks to me a little bit. He just makes it seem like UCLA is the best place in America, but he’s supposed to do that.

EB: What do you think, is he making a good sales pitch?

MH: He’ll be real with me, he’ll tell me the negatives and the positives so that helps.

EB: Does what he says have any impact?

MH: Not at all, I don’t think anybody can really have an impact on me, I’ve got to work this down myself. My plan was that I wasn’t going to be rushed but I didn’t necessarily know I was going to take this long, I really didn’t know it would take this long. All of these schools are special in their own right so it is really hard to decide.

EB: Why don’t you break down what is attractive about each school.

MH: UCLA for instance, the whole thought of rebuilding the glory of UCLA, that is kind of amazing. Kansas has always been a great program and is always in the tournament. Ohio State, Coach O’Brien is a great guy and seems to be a very honest guy. Tommy Amaker is a great guy and that’s in my hometown and Michigan’s been trying to be on the verge of rebuilding that program to where it should be. Oklahoma, coach Sampson I mean they got something special in their future. He only has one McDonald’s All-American and a lot of these schools have several and he is still able to do what he does. Plus they have a good point guard like Andrew Lavender and that is very important. I want a good point guard who I can play with I get there.

EB: How important of a factor is playing time?

MH: Without a doubt I want to be able to come in and play significant minutes and be able to produce. I mean be placed in a situation where I can come in and help right away, starting isn’t even imperative, but it wouldn’t hurt. I feel I can help at any position the one the two the three, whatever the team needs me to do I’m willing to do. So I feel I would be very effective.

EB: Who would you like to go against?

MH: I think I would love to play against Josh Smith because I heard so much about him. I think I want to go ahead and see what that is all about.

EB: What about your dunk on Big Baby yesterday?

MH: I didn’t say anything, but he brought it up. I also caught LaMarcus today and that was nice.

EB: Are you going to try and get Josh too?

MH: Only if he jumps. But, I think he said he is going to try and get me too so we will have to see.

EB: Is it nice to get away from home and all of the phone calls and questions?

MH: Most definitely, even though some of them have my cell phone number. You know the recruiting services, I have to do what I can to stay away from them. You gotta take the bitter with the sweet with all of that though.

EB: Do you sometimes wish people would just leave you alone for the next couple of weeks so you can make a decision?

MH: Yeah I do, but I know that isn’t going to happen so I’ve got to suck it up and make a decision. It is still dependant on me to make that choice so whenever I decide, I’ll decide.


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