Oklahoma's top target for the spring signing period is Detroit (Renaissance HS), Mich. guard Malik Hairston, a 6-foot-6 guard who was recently selected to the McDonald's All-American team. Hairston, who scored 21 points to help lead his team to their second consecutive City Championship on Wednesday night, was interviewed by James Hale on SuperTalk 930 WKY on Thursday to get the latest on his recruitment. Below is a transcript of the interview.
JH: You guys are rocking at Renaissance High School aren't you? How many points did you win by last night in the city championship?
MH: "We won by 28 points."
JH: Is that the norm for you guys?
MH: "It is around there, but we didn't expect that to be for the City Championship."
JH: Earlier in the week you thought that was going to be a tough game, but it didn't turn out that way did it?
MH: "It was a good game. They gave us a run for our money early in the game. We were able to pull away with defense in the second half."
JH: Isn't your team loaded with talent? How many other guys are heading to Division-1 schools?
MH: "Joe Crawford has committed to Kentucky. Marcus Stout is leaning towards Fordham. Along with me, those are the three right now that are going to sign with D-1 schools.
JH: Is it true that you have some younger players — a sophomore or freshman — who are going to be real good?
MH: "We have a sophomore — Tajuan Porter — who is a great point guard. He is very talented, handles the ball very well and he shoots it very well. He is a very good kid also."
JH: How tall is he?
MH: "He is very short. I guess he is 5-foot-6 or 5-7. He has the heart of a lion and has great skills."
JH: Have you seen Drew Lavender at Oklahoma play?
MH: "Yes, I have seen Lavender play. He is very good and very effective at that height. I think Tajuan is very similar to Drew."
JH: Don't you bring the ball up quite a bit on your team, and don't you act as a point guard sometimes?
MH: "Yes, sir. Point guard was actually my natural position before I shot up to 6-6. I can play the position, but I am actually more of a point forward on the wing."
JH: When you were a freshman you were what — 5-11?
MH: "Yes, I was about 5-11."
JH: Whatever your mom is feeding you I want your mom to feed the same thing to me, can you arrange that?
MH: "I don't know what it was, but whatever it was it helped a lot."
JH: So, all of a sudden you are 5-11 and then you grow to 6-1?
MH: "Yeah, that is right, and then my sophomore year I grew to 6-1."
JH: Then heading into your junior year you grew to 6-6?
MH: "I really grew to about 6-5 and then grew another inch before the start of this year."
JH: Is there a chance you are going to be even bigger?
MH: "Hopefully, because I just had my 17th birthday this past Monday. So, I am a year ahead of myself actually. Hopefully, I will get a couple more inches."
JH: So, you developed guard skills early in your career? What has your increased height done for your game?
MH: "I have developed an inside game over the last couple of years. I have learned to post and I have learned a lot of inside moves and inside post moves in the paint. I have more of an all-around game now, which has made me a better player."
JH: You did not sign in the early signing period, but you have taken several visits. What is going on in your recruiting at this point?
MH: "My recruiting is kind of secondary, because I am on a journey for the state championship, which I haven't yet won. We have won back-to-back City Championships now and our state championship run starts March 6 or 7. That is basically my focus at this time. I have taken a visit to three schools and they were all good visits, but I haven't really been able to focus on where I want to go. It is a very important decision, but it is not the most important thing in my life at this time, but it will be very soon."
JH: The three schools were?
MH: "Kansas, UCLA and Ohio State."
JH: What were your impressions of those three schools?
MH: "They all have similar things to offer. They are all great programs with great coaches. They guys on the teams were all cool guys. That is why it is going to be so hard to decide between. They are all very similar and they have great hoop teams in their own right."
JH: We also hear that you considering taking a visit to Oklahoma. Is that true?
MH: "Yes, it is very possible. I was actually on the phone with Coach (Kelvin) Sampson when you called me the first time."
JH: Have you set up a visit to Oklahoma?
MH: "No, he threw a couple of dates at me just now, but they are during the state championship run and that is not going to be able to happen. I guess we are going to set something up after the season."
JH: What are your thoughts on Oklahoma at this time?
MH: "Oklahoma is a great program and Coach Sampson is a great guy. He is a coach that I can easily talk to. I don't know him very well, but I feel comfortable talking to him. I have watched him coach and he is a very hard-nosed coach and I like how his kids respond to him. In the next year, I think Oklahoma is going to be a major factor in the NCAA Tournament."
JH: What do you think of the way OU's utilizes the wings in their offense?
MH: "I believe that is one of the things that we will discuss on the visit. So far, I haven't had that much time to sit down and talk to him about those kinds of things. I have seen them play and they have a free kind of offense and I can see myself fitting in at Oklahoma. I am a transition guy and they run a lot as well."
JH: What is going to be important to you in choosing a college?
MH: "The most important element is that I want to make sure I am taken care of. I am going to be away from my core support system and family, and that puts me in an uncomfortable situation. I want to make sure that each year that I am there I want my game to elevate, and I want to be in a position to win a National Championship."
JH: Looking at the schools you are considering you don't seem to mind going far away from home?
MH: "Not at all, especially if it is the best situation for me."
JH: Is Oklahoma going to be your final visit, or are you considering another visit as well?
MH: "It all depends on the time available and whether another school can grab my interest. Oklahoma has grabbed my interest. Out of all the schools on my list, they are the only school that I have not visited. I haven't taken an official visit to Michigan, but I have taken an unofficial visit. Oklahoma is the only school left that I haven't visited and they could possibly be my last visit."
JH: At this time is there a leader for your signature?
MH: "No, there is not a leader."
JH: So are you wide open at this point?
MH: "It is not necessarily wide open. The schools on my list will be the schools that I choose from."
JH: So, Kansas, UCLA, Ohio State and OU will be the four schools that you choose from?
MH: "Kansas, UCLA, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Michigan."
RECRUITING: OU has Hairston's attention
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