Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Malik Maitland Shining In Florida By MICHAEL LEWIS, Staff Writer (Daytona Beach Journal)

Malik Maitland is too young to play high school basketball.

But he's already establishing himself as a player to watch in Palm Coast.

Maitland, 14, just moved to Palm Coast with his family from Hempstead, N.Y., and is a 5-foot-9 point guard. His reputation preceded him, as he has been playing for the past two years with the New York Gauchos, a top AAU program in that state.

He'll be entering eighth grade this year, but he and some of his future FPC teammates recently competed in a Blue Chip Basketball Camp in Kentucky. Maitland played against kids from around the country, and Maitland was named MVP of one of his team's wins.

"He's definitely one of the better kids for his age level," said Rick Bolus, director of the tournament. "He played in the high school division, and he held his own."

Gauchos coach Scientific Mapp said he thought Maitland had a bright future.

"He would've been one of the best players in the five boroughs of New York," Mapp said. "He's a real good talent."

Maitland said he was a little surprised when his father, Eddie, told him they were moving to Florida two months ago, but he's starting to adjust.

"I'm excited now; things are a lot different but I like it so far," he said. "There was a lot of good tournament at that (Blue Chip) tournament."

Maitland, who'll be going to Buddy Taylor Middle School in 2010-11, was praised by his former coach, Mapp, as being an excellent athlete who plays hard all the time.

"He used to be a pass-first, shoot-second kid, and now he's sort of turned that around a little," Mapp said. "I try to get all the point guards to be pass-first. But he's got the ability to get his own shot when he wants it."

Maitland was recently selected to play in the Junior All-American Camp, for the top middle school players in the country.