Hairston: A Leader?

<p><strong>OKLAHOMA CITY</strong>&mdash;Less than seven hours before tonight&rsquo;s McDonald&rsquo;s All-American game at the Ford Center, Detroit Renaissance wing Malik Hairston sat down one-on-one with for another exclusive interview to address several rumors as well as talk about Kansas signee Darnell Jackson and his recent conversation with Jayhawk coach Bill Self.</p>

Interview with Malik Hairston It’s rumored that you are only considering Kansas and UCLA now. Is that true?

Hairston: “No, that’s not true. It’s exactly what you said it was—a rumor.” How inaccurate is that rumor?

Hairston: “It’s just not a true statement. I haven’t…(pause) I guess taken anybody out of the running. Like I said, I’ve been focusing on my state championship, but now that’s over, I mean this (my decision) is my main focus. I still have a lot of thinking to do.” Allegedly, UCLA is your leader. What’s your response to that?

Hairston: “That’s also not true. I like a lot of things about UCLA, but there’s a lot of things I like about Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ohio State. So, I wouldn’t say that (UCLA leading) is a fair assessment.” So why are people saying UCLA is your leader?

Hairston: “I don’t know. That’s not the truth and you’re hearing that from me. That stuff people are saying didn’t come from my mouth.” You and UCLA signee Jordan Farmar have been hanging together all week. He seems to be rather vocal about recruiting you to play with him in college. Is that relationship going to impact your decision?        

Hairston: “I spent just about the whole summer with Jordan last year, so there’s nothing new he can tell me that could affect my decision. It’s whatever best for me and I just have to buckle down. I don’t think I can make a wrong choice.” Sebastian Telfair believes you are headed to UCLA. What are your thoughts on that statement?

Hairston: “(Laughing)…I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy. I guess he sees me with Jordan Farmar and hears Jordan talking stuff to me all the time. Every time Jordan says something, Sebastian says I should go to Louisville.” J.R. Smith who has signed with North Carolina believes you are going to go to Kansas. Your thoughts on that statement as well?

Hairston: “I have no idea. He might have seen my talking to Darnell Jackson at the dunk contest. People like to take pieces and just put them together and make their own conclusion.” Speaking of Jackson, what do the two of you talk about on Monday night?

Hairston: “When I saw him, he just raised his hands as if to say, ‘What’s up with you coming to Kansas?’ He asked me if I’m going to do it (come to Kansas) or not. He said they need me over there (Kansas). He called me and a left message, but I haven’t had a chance to call him me back.” What’s your opinion of Darnell Jackson?

Hairston: “He’s a great guy. Darnell is hilarious, is what he is. He’s a funny guy and good guy to be around.” Can you see yourself playing with him at Kansas?

Hairston: “Possibly.” Arron Afflalo has signed to go to UCLA and is here this week playing in the McDonald’s All-American game. Both of you play the same position. Is that a potential drawback to attending UCLA?

Hairston: “That’s the least of my worries at any school I go to. Whether somebody’s a senior, junior or sophomore, I know I’m going to play. I understand there’s reality and seniors are going to play if they’re effective, but for the most part coaches want to play their best players. And I’m going to come in and work as hard as I possibly can wherever I go and I think I’ll be able to pick up some significant minutes.” When can we expect you to make your decision?

Hairston: “I give it two weeks.” Do you still plan on signing a letter of intent?

Hairston: “Yes sir. That’s the plan.” Do you feel like you have to stay close to home?

Hairston: “No, I don’t feel one bit of pressure to make my decision or to stay at home. No matter what I do, I’m going to have a great opportunity.” When was the last time you talked to Coach Self?

Hairston: “He left a message for me, but I haven’t had a chance to call him back. So the last time, we talked was probably three or four days ago. He congratulated me on my state championship and wished me luck in Oklahoma City.” Is there any chance you’ll make any more visits, whether they be official or unofficial?

Hairston: “The only thing I think I will do is really sit down and get in some meetings with my coaches and parents to weigh the pros and cons (of each school).” Last question, do you have any idea where you will attend school next year?

Hairston: “No, I don’t.” Top Stories