Finally tracked down the man, even though he wasn’t hard to find. Mr. Malone, the president of the D.C. Assault, K-State’s favorite AAU organization, has been at a bunch of home games at Bramlage Coliseum as of late. But I couldn’t catch up with him until Wednesday afternoon, and even then, I wasn’t sure what I should ask him. As fate would have it, I was tracking down something I’d written here on Chris Babb — nothing new there to report, sorry — and I stumbled across a list of questions for Mr. Malone from my pal Sys. So, thanks, Sys. I knew this took a while to happen, but here it is. Don’t say I never did anything for you, and when you speak of me, speak well…
1. What other AAU organization do you most respect?
Hmmm… Well, the Atlanta Celtics. Pump-n-Run (California). Boo Williams (Virginia). I respect all of them, really.
2. Compare and contrast Michael Beasley and Wally Judge.
I think in comparison, Mike, at the same point, was more physical. Wally is more of a wing at this point… Wally is more quiet. Mike is a trash-talker. Wally is a good kid. Mike has always been a physical guy.
3. How good is Rodney McGruder? How good can he be?
I think Rodney will be a very, very good get for K-State. He’s going to be a great player… He can shoot the ball, which they could use right now. He has a nice in-between game. K-State got themselves a real nice player… I think Georgetown is upset he got out of here. He was one of the better kids in the D.C. area.
4. If you couldn’t hire Dalonte Hill, what current or ex-D.C. assault coach would you choose as a major college assistant coach?
I think Georgetown has a guy who was with us, David Cox.
5. What makes Dalonte so effective as a recruiter?
I think it’s his ability to deal with the young guys that he recruits. It’s good to have older guys on the staff, but it’s always great to have young guys to communicate with the younger players… He just has a great gift for kids. Not just kids at K-State, but kids everywhere. You have to see him interact with other people’s kids… He demands respect. He’s not a pushover. Mike loves him to death, but he knows… He’s a stand-up guy, but he’s laid-back. … I think he’ll be a great head coach one day.
(BONUS) 6. Your thoughts on Manhattan, Kansas? You’ve been here quite a bit recently.
I like it, man. The toughest part is the ride there if you’re flying into K.C… I enjoy little towns.
(BONUS) 7. What D.C. Assault player should KSU fans keep an eye on for 2010?
We have a bunch of 10th graders. Really loaded… Tyler Thornton at Gonzaga Prep, Eric Atkins, another sophomore guard from Mt. St. Joseph’s in Baltimore… Josh Hairston, who everybody has offered. He’s like a big four… (J-MART NOTE: Thornton is a 6-foot-2 guard. Atkins is a 6-foot-2 point guard who says he likes Georgetown, Maryland, Wake Forest and Duke, which is where his favorite college player, Nolan Smith, plays; Smith is Malone’s step-son. Hairston is a 6-foot-8 power forward from Spotsylvania High in Courtland, Va., who seems enthralled with Georgetown. Sounds like Dalonte is going to be going head-to-head with Mr. Cox for kids in the coming years.)
(BONUS) 8. What are your impressions of K-State in 2008-09?
You know what? With Mike out of the equation, I think they have a good solid base, should be a solid team in the Big 12. I think Ron has a hell of a upside. Dominique is going to be good. Jamar is going to be real good. And with Pullen… They should be fine.