Hairston Unaffected By Crawford Decision

Detroit Renaissance standout Malik Hairston, a national top-10 pick, is continuing to assess his options for a college basketball career. Click here to see what impact his teammate Joe Crawford's recent verbal to Kentucky will have on Hairston's final decision.

If Malik Hairston were a poker player, it seems he would be a pretty efficient one. Many people have tried to guess where he will end up next season, but like any good poker player, the Detroit Renaissance standout is not tipping his hand.

Hairston's ultimate destination will still be one of five teams. Kansas, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA are the teams vying to sign him in the April signing period.

Bucknuts.com caught up with Hairston on Thursday night, and he elaborated on some of the specific things he's considering before making a college selection.

A lot of speculation has surfaced that Joe Crawford's commitment to Kentucky may have impacted Hairston's decision, or that Hairston was waiting to see what Joe did. If any of that happens to be true, apparently Hairston hasn't been caught off guard by Joe's choice of the Wildcats, leaving Michigan with still an open slot.

"I expected him to commit there actually," Hairston said. "I didn't expect him to commit so soon, but I honestly thought that's where he was going to go."

With Crawford choosing Kentucky, the pressure from Michigan will most certainly be increased. He remains committed, however, to making his own decision, and not letting those pressures affect him.

"I'm basically going to make my own decision when I'm ready to," Hairston said. I don't feel like it will affect me, and I don't feel any pressure because of it."

Although Hairston says there are still some things he's unsure of, most of his uncertainty comes down to a few factors.

"I'm just watching the teams play," Hairston said. "I want to see how they respond to adversity, see how they respond to the coaches, and see how much I can play there. I'm just going through the process."

Hairston has already visited Ohio State, UCLA and Kansas. Oklahoma is still trying to set up an official visit with Hairston, although he remains uncertain if and when that will happen. Hairston has said that a visit to Michigan will not be necessary due to the proximity to his home in Detroit.

Hairston said his visits are still weighing heavily on his mind, despite not taking any since late September.

"They were all great visits in their own way," Hairston said. "There was a lot of similar things, some different too. L.A. was beautiful and Columbus reminded me a lot of Detroit, it felt like home. Kansas was a quiet and calm place. It kind of fit my personality. But they were all good in their own ways."

Hairston said that his comfort level with the coaching staff and how much he felt at home will be significant factors in his decision. The presence of Ernie Zeigler and Lamonta Stone at UCLA and Ohio State, respectively, will play a role in Hairston's decision, as well.

"Yes, that does help, most definitely," Hairston said. "It would make me feel more comfortable when I'm away from home."

Hairston, the nation's second ranked small forward by and ninth overall prospect nationally by TheInsidersHoops.com, continues to focus on his team's season. He currently is averaging 17.9 points a game for Detroit Renaissance, which is unbeaten and ranked 13th nationally by USA Today.

Renaissance (13-0) is set for a big showdown Friday afternoon as they take on arch-nemesis Detroit Crockett (10-3). Last season Crockett defeated Renaissance all three times the two teams met.

When asked of the chances of seeing Hairston in Columbus playing for the Buckeyes next season, he put on his poker face once again.

"I don't necessarily know exactly the chances," Hairston said. "But, I really, really like Ohio State a lot. It's a great program with good coaches, and a great guards' coach. We'll see what happens."


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