Malik Albert is a Junior College transfer from Detroit who came to Creighton by way of Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. He's 6'1 and has an insane 40.5 inch vertical, has a silky smooth shooting stroke and can cut through the trees on a drive to the basket. He was a NJCAA DII First-Team All-American, shot 80% from the stripe and averaged 24 points per game. The kid can absolutely play, this we know.
Yet, Malik Albert is different. In interviews he's soft spoken, smiles a lot and seemingly enjoys all the facets of life. While attending Mott, Malik knew that if he wanted to play D1 College Basketball that he'd have to hit the books, hard. The primary reason he had to attend Mott was because he didn't quite have the academic drive to make it anywhere else. The process of realizing that the one way to make his dream come true was to prosper academically was a very mature choice and now it's paying dividends as he's now enrolled at Creighton University; the top-rated private university in the Midwest.
It's hard for me personally to delve into a player that has a history of questionable academics and come out feeling alright about it. I remember a player like P'Allen Stinnett, a player very similar physically and athletically to Malik. Stinnett was a combo guard that played for Creighton under Dana Altman, an incredible talent that I never thought would end up in Omaha. I was almost taken aback when I saw him dunk over a 7'1 center from Illinois State. I saw P'Allen do some amazing things with a basketball, but I also saw him do some incredibly foolish things. The technical fouls, the reports of being late to practice and his general disregard for his teammates as a whole was troublesome to take in considering the immense wealth of talent he possessed which made him so hard to like yet dislike simultaneously. Malik, possessing a similar amount of talent, comes off as a man who had to fight through growing pains to end up where he is. He didn't rest on his laurels and instead he focused on his shortcomings and made great strides to become better, to be his best self.
I think Malik will be a phenomenal ballplayer but I believe he offers something to the team that is essential; selflessness. We saw it perfected in Creighton's first year in the Big East. The extra passes, the ability to make the players around them better by understanding positioning, smart and fundamental basketball that ran like Secretariat, a system perfected by Greg McDermott. On and off the court I believe Malik Albert is the perfect fit for the city of Omaha.
Malik Albert's Sophomore Season JUCO Statline