By: Daniel Stickradt
BOYS BASKETBALL: Class C Player of the Year Ellison stands tall for Flint Beecher
BY DAN STICKRADT
EAST LANSING — Malik Ellison has put himself into elite company in terms of talented basketball players to hail from the tradition-rich Flint-Saginaw area.
That’s despite the fact that he is considered vertically challenged.
Ellison, a senior at Flint Beecher, stands only 5-foot-7.
However, his pedigree is through the roof.
His resume quite stacked.
His talent level well … his numbers say it all.
Ellison guided Flint Beecher to its third straight Class C state title March 26, putting the Bucs into second place in the area with eight overall state crowns — one behind Flint Northern.
“I don't know what he has to prove that he is a legit D-I player,” noted Beecher coach Mike Williams. “He’s one of the best players in the state — period. Look at everything he’s accomplished the past four years.”
Ellison slid into Beecher’s lineup in 2013-14, replacing former 2013 Mr. Basketball Monte Morris, who went to play for Iowa State. The end result is not only three state titles, along with multiple Genesee Area Conference, district and regional championships to boast, but Ellison ranks in the top 10 in numerous game, season and career records at Beecher — as well as top 25 in the Flint-area as well.
“When I was in the eighth grade, Monte took me under his wing, and he was showing me all the rights and wrongs to get to the championship,” recalled Ellison. “Basically, that’s what I was trying to do with (my younger teammates). So when the new set of guys come in, they can sprinkle a little joy and education to them.
“Monte told me what to expect,” continued Ellison. “He told me (the ropes) of how to handle everything. I just try to pass that down to the younger guys.”
The little engine that could — Ellison scored 63 points in a regular-season, triple-overtime win over eventual Class B state champion New Haven this winter. That total is not only a single-game school record, but the all-time Flint-area single-game record.
He scored 32 points in his final prep game against Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the state title game, and as a junior hit the game-winner over Detroit Loyola in the state semifinals a year ago. Clutch shots and assists, game-winners were commonplace during Ellison’s stellar career.
Time-and-time again, Ellison has picked stood tall for Flint Beecher, even though high-level college coaches have mostly remained out of the picture.
Ellison recently committed to Division I Eastern Michigan University, as the Eagles were the first to take a gamble on the proven winner who led his school to championship glory three straight times, including a 73-58 victory this year over Covenant Christian. EMU took a chance two decades ago on 5-foot-4 Earl Boykins, who led the Eagles to the Sweet 16 in 1996 and went on to play in the NBA.
“That’s where I’m going. I told (EMU) the weekend (after regionals and before the quarterfinals),” said Ellison. “They were the first D-I to offer me. I’m looking froward to playing in college.”
This season, Ellison was named the Associated Press Class C Player of the Year, as well as All-State First Team by numerous publications. He averaged around 24 points and six assists a game for the 23-5 Bucs, who only lost to Class A and Class B schools this season.
“Malik is the type of player that you want to run your team (As a point guard),” said Williams. “He’s a leader and a great player.”
Malik Ellison might be one of the shorter star point guards in Michigan, but few stand as tall. The results speak volumes.