Prep Athlete: Waseca's Malik Willingham
The Waseca boys' basketball team is in the midst of another solid season with more than 10 wins to date.
Part of that success comes from junior guard, Malik Willingham, who's our KEYC Scheels All Sports Boys Prep Athlete of the Week.
"A lot of people like to talk about how good he is offensively, and to our coaching staff, he is a lot of what we do defensively. He is just a ball hawk. He's averaging over five steals a game for us, and in big games, he always seems to come away with the big rebound, and he always wants to guard the other team's best player. When it comes down to practice, and the defensive drills, he's always the one leading the talking and clapping, and making it an intense atmosphere," said Seth Anderson, Waseca head coach.
Willingham brings an infectious attitude to every game, and once the guard is locked in, there's not a whole lot other teams can do to slow him down defensively or offensively.
"I love doing that at home, I love hitting threes in front of the crowd, and they get hyped, then the bench gets hyped, and I start shooting more, and hopefully they all fall in, and we get hyped and just continue doing our thing," said Willingham, prep athlete.
"He does have a very fun personality, and he does have great energy. That's the thing about energy, it's contagious. He's just an enjoyable kid who enjoys playing basketball, and lives for the big moments on the basketball floor," said Anderson.
"Every shot I put up, I feel like I'm going to make it, and every pass I make, I feel like my teammate is going to make it, so I have a lot of confidence in my teammates," said Willingham.
That confidence in his team is why Willingham's averaging over seven assists a contest this season.
"He's always had a good sense for being able to find the open guy, that just comes from playing a lot of basketball and understanding the game and doing things at game speed so he's ready for the moment. He has an extraordinary amount of confidence that allows him to do some fun things to watch," said Anderson.
The junior scored his thousandth point in style earlier this month putting up almost 40 against St. Peter.
"My teammates gave me the ball, and I just started shooting, and they all happened to go in. It was a fun night, a lot of my family members came to watch that, so it was nice to do that for some of the people from Waseca," said Willingham.
"We didn't think that he'd go off, he just had probably one of his best shooting nights of the year, ended up scoring 38. The most impressive part is he had nine assists with that 38 points too, so he wasn't going out of his way to score that 38. He did it in the flow of our offense, and as a team player," said Anderson.
Willingham's game changing ability is why he's our KEYC Scheels All Sports Boys Prep Athlete of the Week.