Catching Up With Malik Ellison
Malik Ellison’s college career got off to a good start. Malik, who recently finished his first season as a member of the St. John’s men’s basketball squad, was in the starting lineup on opening night when the Red Storm played Wagner on November 13. The 6-foot-6 guard played 21 minutes and contributed seven points and two assists. In fact, Malik started the first two games of the season, before an injury sidelined him for a stretch of eight contests.
“It was tough as a freshman because you don’t know the process. Getting hurt at the beginning of the year was hard for me. It was tough for me to come back and get re-adjusted to the speed. I missed eight games and a lot of opportunities to prove myself early. A lot of my better basketball was toward the end of the season. That’s when I got my body back right, my legs under me and re-adjusted to the speed of the game. Overall, I was satisfied with my freshman year.”
When Malik was able to return on December 18, he scored five points in a loss to Incarnate Word but rebounded to score 11 points in a loss to New Jersey Tech. Two games later, Malik scored a season-high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds against Creighton.
During the final 10 games of the season Malik averaged 8.6 points and scored in double figures in four of the final seven games.
He had 11 points and five rebounds against top ranked and eventual national champion Villanova and had 11 points and four rebounds against DePaul. In a second meeting with De- Paul, Malik scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds and he contributed 10 points in the regular season finale against Marquette.
The Red Storm finished the season with a 8-24 record while Malik finished the season averaging 7.3 points a game.
With his first season behind him, he hopes that he and his teammates get better during the off season.
“I got used to the pace of the game in college so individually I need to tighten up my shot, defense, conditioning and my IQ. As a team, for us to come together early on. Last year everyone was new so we now have experience. It will be good for us this summer to work out together and come closer as a team.”
The 80-65 win over DePaul snapped a 16 games losing streak for the Red Storm. “Our first Big East win versus DePaul. Great feeling to end that losing streak because we worked hard each day and it paid off for us,” he says.
In high school, Malik played at Life Center Academy. The Voorhees, New Jersey native averaged 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game as a senior.
Schools such as Maryland, Seton Hall, Temple, Xavier and South Carolina made him offers but in the end he selected the Red Storm, who is coached by former St. John’s legend Chris Mullen.
“Coach Matt Abdelmassih recruited me well. I had a great feel as soon as I came up here. The rest of the coaching staff have professional mindsets and know what it takes for me to get to the next level. Coach Mullen was a phenomenal player and coach (Mitch) Richmond as well. It’s a great opportunity for me.”
Malik also likes the variety of races and cultures that the institution has. “Overall, the diversity of the school. It’s not just one race. You see a lot of different faces on campus and meet a lot of new friends and they give you different outlooks on life.”
The liberal arts major comes from a athletic family.
He has two siblings who are also college athletes. His father, Pervis, is a former basketball star at Savannah High and Louisville and was the top pick in the 1989 NBA draft while his mother, Timi, ran track in college.
When asked who the best athlete is the family is, Malik stated “I am.”
But then he went on to talk about his family and how proud he is of them.
Malik says that a busy schedule prevents him from coming back to Savannah to visit his family more often but he adds that they do stay in contact.
“When I was younger, I had a lot of free time to go back to visit my dad’s side of the family… my grandma and grandpa. They actually moved to Atlanta. As soon as he made it in the NBA, he bought them a nicer house. Now, I don’t have the time to get down there but I reach out to them every now and then and they check on me. We make sure we stay in contact.”