Tuesday, May 9, 2006


Woodling: Oh boy, another Malik


Wither Malik Hairston?

Surely, all of this brouhaha brought about by the reluctance of Dallas basketball prep Darrell Arthur to announce his college choice has kindled Malik Hairston dejà vu.

A highly recruited 6-foot-6 guard from Detroit, Hairston kept 'em guessing about this time two years ago. In fact, if Arthur prolongs his indecisiveness until Saturday, he'll beat Hairston's painful procrastination by one day.

In mid-May of 2004, Hairston - like Arthur a McDonald's All-American - had sliced his college choices to Kansas and Oregon. Then, in a news conference at his high school, Hairston stunned KU fans by picking the Ducks over the tradition-rich Jayhawks.

"I want to 'Carmelo-ize' Oregon," Hairston said at the time, meaning he envisioned leading the Quackers to the NCAA championship during his freshman season, just as Carmelo Anthony did at Syracuse (thanks largely, as you know, to Kansas forgetting how to shoot free throws) and then perhaps declare for the NBA Draft.

That did not happen, of course. Hairston did not "Carmelo-ize" Oregon. In fact, since his arrival in Eugene, Ore., the Ducks virtually have disappeared from the national college basketball consciousness.

As a freshman at Oregon in 2004-05, Hairston averaged 13.1 points a game for a 14-13 club and made the Pac-10 Conference all-freshman team. As a sophomore last season, Hairston averaged a team-leading 15.0 points, but the Ducks struggled to a 15-18 record.

Hairston did not crack the 10-member all-Pac-10 team last winter, but he did earn honorable mention. Meanwhile, no one is talking about Hairston making an early exit for the NBA. His name does not appear among the countless misguided souls who believe they are ready to play for pay.

Those with longer teeth may remember a similar situation nearly a decade ago. Specifically, it was April 28, 1997, when Baron Davis established the standard for stunt announcements.

Davis now is an established pro with the Golden State Warriors. In fact, Davis finished second to Steve Nash, the NBA's two-time MVP, in assists this season. Nine years ago, however, Davis was a hot prospect from a Santa Monica, Calif., high school.

Davis announced his pick on a locally televised L.A. Clippers pregame show, and he did it in such a theatrical way that he infuriated many KU fans.

Davis sat at a table in front of four ball caps - the Clippers, Georgia Tech, Kansas and UCLA. First, the announcer discarded the Clippers headgear, then the Georgia Tech cap. Next, it was Davis's turn. Smiling, he picked up the KU cap, hesitated, threw it aside and doffed the UCLA hat.

"Kansas looked like an ideal situation for me, but UCLA is the same situation," Davis said, "I can have everything that I would have had in Kansas right here and more."

Arthur, Hairston and Davis all fall into the same category, according to KU basketball fan G.A. Roberts of Lawrence.

"I call them peacock-type recruits," Roberts told me. "The most outrageous was Davis throwing those hats around."

So, if you believe in the law of averages, KU is overdue to land a peacock.


Jonathan Andrews 12 years, 1 month ago

It's "whither" in this case, Chuck, "whither."

muffaletta 12 years, 1 month ago

Sweet ... I'd forgotten about the "Carmeloize" comment. Good stuff!

mariofan11 12 years, 1 month ago

One BIG difference between Arthur and Hairston though. Malik once he committed was the best player on Oregon's team and was going to have to be a star for them to flourish. Arthur won't start and if he isnt worth all the hype, oh well. We have a top 3 team in the nation anyway. This is just a bonus signing for KU. Just adding Depth.

Derek King 12 years, 1 month ago

One other big difference that the story indirectly points out--you don't see Darrell Arthur quoting himself in the third person or any other way that suggests that he's a self-absorbed headcase that's buying into his own hype. He talked about praying really hard about this decision; perhaps he's just a really talented and humble kid who felt a little guilty that he had to turn down those other two schools. I know that's a crazy notion, but it's certainly possible.

Craig Lang 12 years, 1 month ago

I thought it was Jaron Rush who pulled that cap stunt...I must have confused my UCLA players.

Kuhawkdave 12 years, 1 month ago

I have never seen a columnist write about so many old, tired subjects. At least this time, you sort of alluded to a current situation. You're making progress. Why don't you get out of your chair and get a story about the KU baseball team, or a spring football story. Good Grief!!

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