September 27, 2013

Huff on the cusp

Kevin McCarthy

Sometimes you get the sense that a prospect is just on the cusp of generating national recognition and in this particular case Malik Huff already is the No. 9 prospect in the NorCal Preps 2015 Top 40.

photo of Malik Huff

A 6-foot-2 lefty, out of Drake High and Lakeshow Pump N Run, the Division I level athletic ability is certainly present plus he can drive and dish or finish. Offensively, it's a matter of honing his outside shooting consistency.

Here is Huff described after his participation in the September 2013 Bay Area Competition Clinic: “Huff is an active and athletic two guard. He's a solid ball handler (and a very nice passer) who can finish in transition. He's a good driver with a nice first step who can pull up well half court and he shoots it ok with 3-range. He's also a capable rebounder...”

He earlier played in the 2013 Nor Cal Spring Showcase with this resulting analysis: “Very quick and athletic point guard, excellent vision and passer, get anywhere he wants to on the floor with the dribble, nice first step, very good in transition, must improve shooting...”

Huff self-labels his best skills as “My vision and my IQ,” the latter something he developed as a result of being surrounded by basketball. “My Dad coached AAU basketball a lot and that helped.” The junior is also very proud of his deft passing.

Lakeshow Coach Joe Fuca chimed in with: “Malik is a tremendous high-level athlete with great skills on the court. There is no question that Malik will be a DI basketball player, the question is how high? Malik does some incredible stuff on the court that will make you turn your head. His rebounding skills are amazing for a point guard. He literally will outjump 6-foot-9 centers all day in the key. He will block their shots on defense and start the fast break himself. Malik loves high level competition and he thrives on big wins. His Lakeshow 16s Elite team won some really big games this past spring and summer and he was a major part of that. Schools interested are Fresno State, UC Irvine, St Mary's, Cal, and Nevada. This will be a big year for Malik as he hones in on his three-point jump shot and becomes a threat from the outside. There is no telling how high he can go if he achieves an outside scoring threat.”

It was basketball for Huff by a sort of process of elimination. “I was never really good at soccer, I got a concussion playing football and I hurt my shoulder in baseball.”

He is on target academically but that earlier football concussion had him missing three weeks of school which, at the time, set him back in his coursework.

Responding to a query about the arc of his hoops growth from his freshman days (which were at Tamalpais High), he explained, “We weren't bad but we weren't the best [at the varsity level] and I played more than most freshman would. I could shoot the three from the corner.”

He primarily focused on his passing at that point but now has developed a much more well-rounded offensive repertoire.

Besides his basketball skills set, Huff possesses one other unique talent -- “I have one of the most unique laughs, it's very funny. When I tell a joke and laugh, even if the joke isn't funny, people will laugh at my laugh.” He has yet to try that out during any crucial free throw attempts by opponents.

Asked about the composition and state of the 2013-14 Mariners, Huff offered, “We lost nine seniors (including Liam Hunt, the Player of the Year in the Marin County Athletic league plus Lucas Chavez and Steve Kenilvort, both First Team honorees) but we have two juniors, two sophomores, a player from the freshman team and the junior varsity. We'll play smart, move the ball around and play man-to-man defense, no zone.”

Drake went 26-7 overall last season, steamrolling through league with a 14-0 record.