You were well known even as an 8th grader. What has the recruiting process been like for you during the past five years?
"It has been really crazy. But it has gone by really fast. But it was great. If I could relive it again I wouldn't change a thing about it."
When did you get serious about the recruiting process from your end?
"I was always serious about it. I was always looking for information about schools but it is hard to look up information about 50 schools. My thing was I was going to pick some schools that I knew I could go in and make an impact among the schools that had been with me from day one. That was how I cut my list down. But, for the most part, I was seeing what I could make an impact, who could help me in a big way, things like that. Going into my senior year I really started to notice it."
Obviously, you have signed with Mississippi State. Talk about the Mississippi State assistant coach who recruited you, George Brooks. When did he actually start recruiting you?
"He started the first day you could call recruits. That was the first time he started recruiting me. He has been on me since day one. He called me every morning at 7:30. It is kind of hard to compete with that."
Did it surprise you that he called you at that time each morning?
"No, it didn't surprise me. He told me that he was going to do it and he is a man of his word. And he kept doing it. And that was something that I really appreciated."
How important was he to you as far as you signing with Mississippi State?
"He was one of the biggest factors. All of the people who were there got released. If he had left then I wouldn't have been with anyone who had recruited me. It would have been like starting over again."
What impact did new Mississippi State coach Ben Howland have on your signing with Mississippi State?
"It did help them. It was something that I prayed for. I prayed for a coach who could push me and work me hard, who didn't care about me being Malik. He was someone who has had players of my caliber and it was a team that I could go in and have an impact on. I think that God put all of that in Mississippi State in one month. So, I think it was a sign that that was where I was supposed to be. I had my mind and heart in it and that is why I am hear."
Was Mississippi State ever at a point where they got into the lead and stayed there?
"No, there wasn't."
When did it start happening for Mississippi State?
"When Coach Howland came in it was like Wow, maybe this is what I need. But it took me some time to do research on him. And the whole time everyone was still on the same playing field. Once I researched him and found about what he was about and the things that he did (in his coaching career), then I thought it was the right thing to do."
Did knowing how successful Russell Westbrook a former player of Ben Howland's, has been in the NBA, factor into your deciding on Mississippi State? You guys are somewhat similar.
"No. If that had been the case, then I could have gone anywhere, Kansas, Kentucky, anywhere like that. But like I said, I think it was a calling from God that I should be at Mississippi State. Mississippi State hiring Ben Howland was like a whoa!"
What does it mean to you knowing that you will be playing for the same college that your dad played for?
"It is a great feeling. At first I didn't really think about it like that but now that I have decided it is kind of a major thing."
What are your thoughts about the team that you will be playing with next season?
"I think we will have a good team. I think it is a team that will go in and compete each and every night. They will look for me to lead right away and I will look for those guys to provide me with advice. And we will keep moving on."