Posted On: 03/20/18 12:59 PM
The Dunbar Poets are just 10 days removed from defeating the defending Class 1A State Champion Fairmont Heights at the Xfinity Center. They added yet another state championship to a very decorated program, and did so in fairly dominant fashion all season.
A big reason for their success was the play from junior guard Malik McCormick, who averaged 14 points per game in their semifinal and state title match up. McCormick has come a long way since last season when he served the role as sixth man as a sophomore.
“I came a long way since last season,” McCormick said. “I just tried to control the game from the bench and keep everyone locked in. I felt as though I should’ve got more time, but that’s why this past summer I took more charge during workouts and stuff like that.”
Workouts never stop for McCormick. He’s also a standout cornerback and slot receiver for the Poets on the gridiron. He had a quick turnaround after winning the state championship in football before suiting up on the hardwood, but he adjusting quickly and flourished with an increased role. Last year, McCormick was know as being a guy who could beat teams with his outside shot, but this season he had the ball in his hands much more often and initiated sets.
His growth and development was on display during championship weekend. He only took five shots from beyond the arc (connecting on two of them). The 5-foot-11 guard broke his man down off the dribble and relied on his mid-range game and finishing around the rim as he shot 8-for-19 between the two games.
Defensively, McCormick’s footwork from playing cornerback/slot receiver translates into him being a solid on-ball defender and effective at anticipating passes when off the ball.
“I’m a lot more calm while at the same time being aggressive than I was at the beginning of this season,” McCormick told Prep Hoops. “I have a better feeling of when to pick my spot and how to create for my teammates.”
Currently McCormick doesn’t hold any offers for basketball. He does hold a West Virginia State offer for football. In terms of which sport he plans on pursuing at the collegiate level, McCormick told Prep Hoops he’s more interested in playing basketball, but definitely won’t ignore the programs who pursue him for football.
MalikMcC3 😆StateChamp! pic.twitter.com/yVQbKJ4gsh
— Mr.Chills❄️! (@MalikABrand) March 11, 2018