Hairston Shines In D.C., Discusses Choices

Detroit Renaissance standout Malik Hairston led his team to a win at the Jordan Capital Classic Saturday night. Then, he sat down with reporters and discussed his next move. Click here for Hairston's take on all the schools he is considering, including Ohio State.

The college basketball world awaits the decision of Detroit Renaissance small forward Malik Hairston, considered the nation's ninth-best senior prospect by

The 6-6 Hairston made an appearance Saturday at the Jordan Capital Classic at Maryland's Comcast Center. Sam Webb of was on hand to cover the all-star game.

Hairston led his Black squad to a 107-96 victory with 23 points. He hit on 9 of 11 shots from the floor, including 2 of 4 from three-point range. He also had five rebounds and three assists. He indicated that he'd really cherish the memory of his last high school game with Kentucky-bound Joe Crawford and Renaissance coach Mark White, who coached the Black squad.

"It's going to be something that I remember for the rest of my life, just like the whole Renaissance run," Hairston said. "It was just another great opportunity…another great experience."

While their time together on the court as coach and player is ending, Coach White indicated that it's just the beginning of another chapter.

"Our relationship will last a lot longer than just coaching, so I already got past that (their time together ending) when we won the state championship," White said.

Webb filed three reports on Hairston's appearance at the Capital Classic, where Michael Jordan and LeBron James were on hand to watch the proceedings.

Here are excerpts from Hairston's postgame press conference:

Q. Your last high school game…how did it feel?

Hairston: "It felt real good. Had to go out with a bang I guess. Got the victory, and played pretty well."

Q. So you felt pretty good out there?

Hairston: "Yeah, I felt good out there…comfortable. I played with these guys a lot before."

Q. So, you got a chance to talk with Michael Jordan. Was this your first time meeting him?

Hairston: "Yes it was. I was just kind of in awe, his whole aura just everything about the guy. He is probably the smoothest guy I ever met."

Q. Did he give you any personal advice?

Hairston: "(laughing) Just to go to North Carolina for a visit."

Q. As a player that has the championships, been to the All-star games, and had these experiences, what do you take away from all of this?

Hairston: "It just another great experience to play with the best players in the country. These are players that I am going to see probably, for the rest of my basketball career. So I think it is just another great opportunity."

Q. You are one of the few players that still has his decision up in the air. Do you plan on taking any more visits?

Hairston: "I think I will take a couple more visits."

Q. Do you know where, to which schools?

Hairston: "Possibly Oregon, and Oklahoma."

Q. If you were to take those visits, when would they come?

Hairston:"Hopefully, this coming weekend to Oregon and following that, probably Oklahoma. I'm going to get them out of the way as quick as possible."

Q. From your past list, you talked about eliminating some schools. Have you done that yet?

Hairston: "No, I haven't."

Q. So ultimately, in the end what is it that you are looking for? You have been to most of the schools, talked to most of the coaches. What are you considering?

Hairston: "The same things that I have been considering during the whole process. Where I fit in best, where I will be most comfortable, and where I think I will be able to develop constantly."

Q. How did it make you feel to go visit the kids in the hospital?

Hairston: "Oh, it was a great experience. To see the smiles on the kids' was just great. I happen to meet another kid named Malik, so we hit it off. Got a chance to play with him a little bit."

Q. So there was a kid named Malik there?

Hairston: "Yeah, it was kind of ironic. I heard him coming down the hall, and I heard someone say, "hey Malik." I went to look and they weren't talking to me. So I guess I was the first one to go over there and sign his hat. It made me feel great."

Q. Are you still thinking about Michigan?

Hairston: "Michigan is still somewhat in the recruitment."

Q. What happened with Joe Crawford and his commitment, then de-commitment to Michigan?

Hairston: "He figured that was the best situation for him. That's all I can really say. Joe figured that Kentucky was a better fit for his game."

Q. When are you going to make your decision?

Hairston: "As soon as I take these last couple of visits."

Q. Is the NBA an option?

Hairston: "No, I am going to go to school."

Q. So do you think some time in mid May?

Hairston: "I think it will be before May. I think it will be at the end of April."

Q. What does it mean to you to be able to play in this game?

Hairston: "It's a great honor and a tremendous blessing. I'm just happy to be here, and happy to be a part of the game. I was happy to hang out with the fellas, and most of all happy to meet Michael."

More Details

Webb had a chance to speak to Hairston following the press conference. Here are excerpts from that interview.

Webb: Let's play a word association game. I'm going to name a school, and you give me their positive attributes.

Webb: UCLA

Hairston: "They are re-establishing and rebuilding the whole glory of UCLA. It would be great to be a part of it. Coach Howland has gone out there and changed the whole level of toughness. He has changed their whole style actually. I think they are going to do something good out there."

Webb: Kansas

Hairston: "They are always winning. I possibly have a chance at a National Championship, and that would be another great thing to be a part of."

Webb: Ohio State

Hairston: "I guess that might be my best opportunity closest to home. It is a possibility that I would be THAT guy. I would be a great part of the team and I think that I could be that piece of the puzzle that they need to put them over the top."

Webb: Michigan

Hairston: "That is right in my backyard. Coach Amaker just comes off as a real great guy…real calm. But he still seems to have a great affect on his players. I know the guys. I like the guys...Lester, Dion, and Daniel. They are all great guys. They are also trying to reestablish where Michigan once was, so that would be another great story."

Webb: Oklahoma

Hairston: "Coach Sampson is a very intense coach. He's laid it out to me. He wants me to be, he says, the star of his movie. I think they are one player away from being there in that National title run."

Webb: Oregon

Hairston: "The style of basketball is great. If you look at how they play, they get up and down, and they shoot a lot of 3s. They are a great team and they seem to have a commitment to their players."

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