Latest On Malik Hairston

Among the hottest basketball recruits in the country and an almost certain top 20 national player, Pittsburg small forward <b>Malik Hairston</b> is seeing his recruiting explode. He talks about a list of schools, and comments about UCLA...

Malik Hairston, 6-5, 180, Detroit (Mich.) Renaissance, has used some very good spring tournament performances to vault himself into an almost certain top 20 national recruit. (Here's the most recent scouting report by's Dave Telep: Hairston Comes Into His Own)

Hairston, who averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists last year as a junior, said that, with the increase in recruiting attention he's been getting recently, he's wide open when it comes to colleges. "I really am, I'm wide open," Hairston said. "I have many schools I'm thinking about right now."

When asked to provide a list of some schools for us, Hairston said, "Ohio State, Missouri, UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, and more. I just can't think of all of them."

According to Hairston, he's been offered scholarships by every school on that list except for Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois.

Besides spending time impressing scouts and college coaches this spring, Hairston has also taken some unofficial visits. "I've been to Michigan State and Ohio State," Hairston said. "They were both nice, pretty much what I thought. I mean, they didn't change my opinion that much of them. I plan on taking more unofficial visits over the summer, I just don't know when or where."

Being so wide open, you'd think that Hairston wasn't sure about official visits either, and generally he isn't, except for one. "I really don't know what schools I want to visit officially. UCLA is probably the only school I'm sure about visiting. I mean, it's L.A. I've never been to California, so I really want to see that."

Considering unofficial and official visits, Hairston has a loose timeline for his recruitment. "Well, June and July are pretty busy. In June, I'm playing in a couple of events (the USA Junior Olympic Development Festival and the NBA Players Association Camp). Then, in July, well, you know how hectic that is all month long. If I can get in some unofficial visits during that time, that's what I'd try to do. Then in August, that's probably when I'll start taking official visits. I don't know if I'll take all five visits. If that's what it takes for me to decide where I want to go, I will. So that's a possibility. But I won't for sure take five visits. I'll just make my decision whenever it's right."

What is he looking for, that will let him know the decision is right? "First, a comfortable situation. I'm also looking for an opportunity to play, to produce, and then contend for a national championship."

When asked which school is recruiting him the hardest, Hairston said, "UCLA and Ohio State." Hairston went on to talk about how well he already knows the UCLA coaching staff, since the word was that, when head coach Ben Howland and assistant Ernie Zeigler were at Pittsburgh, the Panthers might have been Hairston's favorite. "Yeah, I know Coach Howland. He seems like a player's coach, when I've talked to him. He came down to my school. He seems like the kind of coach that makes his players play hard, but also has a good relationship with them. Coach Zeigler, I've known him for a while, before I was even recruited. I knew him from the local basketball scene here, and he's a really nice guy."

Hairston said that he maintains a 3.0 GPA and will take the ACT for the first time this Saturday.

He'll attend the Nike All-Ameerican Camp in early July, and then play with the Nike-sponsored, Detroit-based AAU team, The Family, for the rest of July.

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