Malik Hairston Scouting Report

Detroit Renaissance Coach Mark White calls Malik his own version of Jalen Rose. In a recent article, the Detroit News' Tom Markowski also mentioned the similarities between Malik and Jalen. Prep Spotlight's Vince Baldwin somewhat agreed with the aforementioned comparison, calling Malik a cross between Jalen and Scottie Pippen. AAU coach Durand Walker uses Malik as a point-forward on his team, The Family. The overriding theme in all of these descriptions is VERSATILITY!<br><br> New pictures

When describing Malik, Vince offered the following, "He is probably the most versatile player in the state of Michigan. He's able to play a little bit of the 1, a little bit of the 2, and a little bit of the 3. Plus, he's able to check a power forward because he's so long and plays good defense in the post." I had heard descriptions such as that previous to seeing Malik for myself. When I finally was able to observe him in person, I found the "jack of all trades" description to be overwhelmingly precise. As a matter of fact, after seeing him on numerous occasions the first player that came to mind for me was Jalen Rose. Malik is a righty, but he possesses many of the same skills that Jalen does. Vince was also aware of that comparison. However, he had a little different spin on it. "Malik has a great pull up jump shot. He's a real good catch and shoot 3-point shooter. He also drives to the basket pretty well. But, when he goes to the hole he's looking to finish. Jalen, on the other hand, might drop the ball off. Jalen was able to find players off of the dribble a little bit better. But, there are a ton of similarities in their games for sure. It's definitely a valid comparison. In my opinion, he's a cross between Jalen Rose and Scottie Pippen."

Malik brings the ball up court

Malik's ability to rise and shoot over his opponent is something one might expect from a 6'5", 185 lb. wing player. As Vince indicated, his pull up game is also very good. However, his 3-point precision and his ability to get to the basket and finish in traffic surprised me. As was the case with Joe Crawford, those two facets of his game really complement each other. The pictures show that when defenders crowd him to contest his jumper, he blows by them and can convert when he gets to the bucket. Conversely, if they back off he has no problem draining the 3.

Malik for 3!

Someone better get a hand in his face!

While he's effective at getting to the basket, his off the dribble passing game doesn't rise to the level of a Rose. Regarding the prospects of Malik playing the PG position in some capacity on the next level, Vince said, "I don't think you ask him to do that at the college level. But, I do think he'd be a forward that you could run your offense through because he can handle the ball. Plus he makes good decisions, good passes, and is a good shooter." Those comments by Vince formulate a textbook description of the point forward position. Coincidentally, Durand Walker told me that he utilizes Malik in that capacity on the summer AAU circuit for his team, The Family.

Malik finishes over big Anthony Sparks

Malik to the bucket

The point forward position was created in the 80's by then Milwaukee Bucks Coach, Don Nelson. What was the reason for this new position? He too had a player that was a manifestation of versatility, Paul Pressey. That Buck team, (with Sidney Moncrief, Ricky Pierce, and Terry Cummings) used to give the Detroit Pistons fits. Initiating the offense through Pressey gave the Bucks the advantage of having a trigger man who could see over his defender if a point guard switched off on him, or beat his defender off of the dribble if a small forward tried to check him. It was especially effective when Pierce would sub off of the bench for the point guard and team with Moncrief to provide two scoring threats in the backcourt at once. Pressey was the blueprint for the eventual role that Scottie Pippen began to fill for the Bulls through their championship runs. Today, players of this ilk are more frequent. A few current NBA examples (aside from Pippen) are Grant Hill, Anthony Mason, and Antoine Walker. Here in Ann Arbor there's a player that often has a similar responsibility in Bernard Robinson Jr. It is in that mold that many see Malik Hairston.

Malik to the hole

Once again in traffic

Blew right by the defender

Exactly what position he's best suited for in college is debatable. Coach White at Renaissance, (who himself was a point guard), told me that he has schooled Malik on the basics of the point guard position. That said, Malik doesn't have quite the handles many coaches want at the 1 (though he has a very good handle for a player his size). So, a situation where he's used as a point forward might be desirable. At the same time, while coach Walker utilizes him as a point forward, he also mentioned that Malik reminded him of Steve Smith with his ability to score. Not only would those possibilities cause opposing coaches headaches trying to figure out how to defend him, they might also cause his own coach a few headaches trying to figure out how to best use him. Even with the possible cranial discomfort, isn't that a problem most Michigan fans would love for Tommy Amaker to have?

(Vince Baldwin is THE source on high school basketball in the midwest region. For instructions on how to obtain his print publication and/or to view his online content, visit him at Prep Spotlight)

With authority!

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