You are so well known now. And whomever your team plays, that team is keying on you now. And tonight's game against Laurel was a very physical game. How do you adjust to having to deal with that night after night?
"You just have to go out and play. It is something that you have to prepare for, work out and do things like that. And my coaching staff and my dad have done a great job of doing that. And you really have to rely on your teammates. It helps that they can open up the game for you."
During the first part of the Laurel game I believe they led your team 22-11, then things seem to have changed and your team really took it to them. What changed after they had that 22-11 lead?
"Basketball is a game of runs. At first we weren't really playing hard and we were taking them for granted. Once the second quarter started, we got into the huddle and told each other that we needed to hold them accountable. Then, we went on our run."
How has your game changed this season? The reason I ask that is because I have been told that you want to be more of a point guard in college, then in the NBA.
"I'm really just adjusting to my team. I'm trusting my teammates even more. Earlier in the season I trusted them but not as much as I do now. That has come from me being with them at practice. And I bring some of the guys with me to my workouts. We hang out and know each other now. We are more of a family than we were my freshman and sophomore years. I now know that I can go to them and tell them whatever I want to and they will look in my eyes and say I got you, Malik. We are going to hold each other accountable."
You still score a lot but are you trying to become more of a distributor?
"I'm just trying to win the game."
These next questions are about recruiting. When are you going to start the process?
"It will start Saturday."
What do you mean by it will start Saturday?
"Saturday, I will probably have plans for my officials, the places that I will be going to."
How are you going to make that decision?
"I will get with my dad. And it will be based on some things that I have been seeing from tv-wise."
What are you looking for in a team?
"I am looking for a program that will push me on and off the court, help me become a better man on and off the court. A team that has veteran players on it that have been through the wars already. Somewhere where I can go and be a piece and not just the biggest part of the team where every night I am getting double teamed. I don't want to go where they just focus on me. I want to go where I can fit in."
Do you have your list of schools down to five?
"No, not five yet."
Would you say it is close to 10 schools?
"It is somewhere around that."
Obviously, I have the Mississippi State site on Scout.com. Is Mississippi State one of those schools?
What are your thoughts about Mississippi State?
"You can't overlook what Rick Ray is doing there with his guys. Every year they are getting better. Every game they are getting better. And he is developing those guys. Every year they are taking like four or five steps ahead. You can't overlook a coach who is developing players."
You mentioned developing players. Guard Craig Sword is an example of that development. Does his development factor into your thoughts about them?
"Yes, it does. That is actually a big part of the game, especially for him because he is known for his driving to the basket. Now, he can make the three-point shot consistently. Now it is hard to stop him because he can shoot the three and he is quick enough to get by you."
What is your relationship with MSU assistant coach George Brooks?
"It is great. He is a great recruiter and a great coach. He shoots it to me straight."
Is Ole Miss one of your schools?
"Ole Miss is in it. I like the same thing about them, Kennedy is developing them as well. They let their guards loose. They have a good team and they are still building."
Kentucky is in your recruiting picture as well. What do you like about them?
"They do a lot of one and dones. I know I would have some more NBA players around me. And Cal knows how to work with a guard like me."
Kansas is also one of the teams that you are considering. What do you like about them?
"It is really the same thing. Bill Self knows how to coach. And one of my weaknesses of my coach is one of the strengths of his coaching, defense. He had (Andrew) Wiggins a year or two ago so he knows how to coach a guard like me."
Aren't North Carolina State and LSU also in the picture?
What are your thoughts about those two schools?
"LSU, they have so much talent this year, and next year they have two good players coming in from the 2015 class. I think the only thing they are missing right now is another guard that they can stretch the floor out with 55 (Tim Quarterman) and a shooter. I think Antonio (Blakeney) will do a great job of coming in and doing that, and Ben (Coleman) also."
What about North Carolina State?
"Coach Mark Gottfried does a good job of coaching scorers. He did the same thing with Mo Williams (at Alabama). And right now he is doing it with (Trevor) Lacey and Cat Barber. He does a great job of that. And you are playing in the ACC, one of the hardest conferences, but at the same time it gets you a lot of exposure. You can't overlook that. And they are winning."