By Joseph Staszewski
New York City hoops fans got a taste of why St. John’s University thinks so highly of Malik Beasley.
The rising senior put all the aspects of his game on display in his Team USA’s 137-135 loss to the New York City area all-stars at the Big Strick Classic boys’ basketball showcase game at Gauchos Gym in the Bronx last Saturday.
The 6-foot-4 Georgia guard scored 24 points, including four three-pointers, to earn one of his teams’ most valuable player awards. His final trey came with 2:04 left in the game to help pull Team USA within 131-128 with 2:04 left in the game. It was all part of Beasley (St. Francis HS, Ga.) showing he can score in a variety of ways.
“I feel real good about myself and the way I played,” Beasley said. “I was having fun for the most part because it’s an all-star game.”
The performance came a day after he cut his list of college suitors to eight with St. John’s, UConn, UCLA, Wake Forest, Florida State, Oregon, VCU and Georgia in the mix. Beasley, the nation’s No. 60-ranked player by Rivals, took an unofficial visit to St. John’s Sunday and tweeted afterward that he had a “great time at St. John’s.” He plans on making his decision in November and enjoyed his time in New York City.
“It was pretty cool,” Beasley said. “I had a lot of fun. It was a great experience. I’m blessed.”
The Johnnies are hoping he graces them with his presence down the road. Beasley will be a good fit for the style St. John’s head Coach Steve Lavin likes to play because of his ability to create his own shot off the dribble and his athleticism. He showed a consistent shooting stroke and defended well at the Big Strick Classic.
Beasley also gave us a taste his athletic ability with a running slam from inside the free throw line during the slam dunk contest and a tomahawk dunk during the game. He spoke highly of St. John’s afterward and the opportunities it would offer him.
“It’s a good school,” Beasley said. “If I went there, I could play in Madison Square Garden. It’s a great city.”
He would also be a great pickup for St. John’s, which will need to rebuild its backcourt for 2015. The Red Storm will lose D’Angelo Harrison, Phi Greene IV and Jamal Branch to graduation and could see Rysheed Jordan leave for the NBA after this year. The Johnnies already missed out on guard Donovan Mitchell, but can still land Beasley and Rosedale Catholic star Isaiah Brisco.
That would form a heck of a tandem.
Beasley is a proven winner after leading his school to its first state title last season. He would give St. John’s a kid who has the natural ability to put the ball in the hoop, especially after the team loses Harrison and Greene. Talent evaluator Tom Konchalski said the Big Strick Classic was the best he had seen Beasley play and that he is a player who can put up points in bunches.
“That’s what they put up on the scoreboard,” Konchalski said. “They don’t put how many defensive stops or defensive rebounds you have. They put how many points up there.”
The Red Storm will now have to wait and see if he will be doing it for them.