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Maliek White, a 6’2, 170 pound point guard from George Wythe High School in Richmond, Virginia, became Providence’s first Class of 2016 commit and Jeff Battle’s first recruit on Sunday, following a weekend visit to the school. White, who ran with the River City Reign on the summer circuit, exploded over the AAU season.
White went head-to-head with a number of top point guards over the summer sessions and acquitted himself well. As a result, he saw his rankings improve and his recruitment take off. Scout.com elevated him to a 4-star recruit and currently has him as the #28 point guard in the class, #7 in the East and #1 in talent-rich Virginia. Rivals.com rates him #125 in the class while 24/7 sports has him at #144 in its composite rankings. These numbers represent quite a jump over the past year.
White had recently narrowed his choices to Providence, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and VCU. Just over a week ago, River City Reign coach Chris Herron commented, “Maliek feels that Providence, Old Dominion, Georgia Tech, VCU, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and UMass are recruiting him the hardest.” Herron went on to say, “He is great in transition, pushes the tempo, and makes great decisions. He is very coachable and has improved his game as much as anyone in the country over the past two years. Maliek is a very tough, gritty kid who doesn’t back down from any situation. He’s shown the ability to run a team and really started to develop into a leader and a true point guard.””
White visited Pittsburgh but point guard Justice Kithcart beat him to the punch with a verbal and while Pitt fans dreamed of a Kithcart-White backcourt, White wanted a situation where he was the main ballhandler. He had made unofficial visit to VCU and Old Dominion but moved his October 3 visit date to Providence up a week when it became apparent that New York’s Shamorie Ponds was also close to a decision between PC and St. John’s. White had commented that, ”I want to play at a high level at a school with coaches I have built relationships with and have an opportunity to contribute early. (I also want) a tough and gritty program.”
Tough and gritty are adjectives used to describe White’s game. While he has the ability to play off the ball, White’s future is as a lead guard and he has excellent size for the position. What stands out about his game is his ability to drive with either hand and finish off the glass or kick to open shooters. A tough competitor, he also buried over 40 percent of his threes for the Reign and has the potential to become an elite defender.
Scout.com identified as a breakout star of July and had this to say about him: “River City Reign point guard Maliek White was among the prospects that emerged at the Under Armour Finals event in Suwanee, Ga. White, a tough, hardnosed guard, has good size for the position at 6-foot-2. He’s quick and competes on both ends of the floor. White showed good vision, ran his team well and played an unselfish brand of basketball. White also mixed in multiple threes and showed good range on his jumper. He’s one we’ll be tracking the rest of July, as the high-majors are starting to take note of his play. White’s offer list includes Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Providence, VCU, UMass, ECU, Old Dominion, East Tennessee State, Duquesne, Towson, James Madison and a host of others.
In high school, White scored 36 points in the state championship game as he led George Wythe to its first state championship in 55 years. “My high school season went well, we won the state championship,” White told Scout’s Rob Harrington. “That kind of put me on the map.” Harrington went on write: White stands out immediately on the basis of his explosive quickness and speed. He’s a devastating transition player because he can get ahead of the field and score himself or make a slick pass to a teammate. He applies constant pressure due to his ability to go rim to rim at a breakneck pace.
With only Kyron Cartwright on the roster as a pure point guard, White is a welcome addition for the Friars. This commitment allows PC’s staff to concentrate on frontcourt targets, such as Sedee Keita, Wenyen Gabriel and Kevin Marfo, who also visited over the weekend.