Wednesday, June 12, 2019 1:16 PM | CBN
By: Liam Blutman
Here’s another name to remember amongst the college basketball landscape. The name? Malik Fitts.
Malik is entering his Redshirt Junior season, his second season as a member of Saint Mary’s. He’s a 6’8” forward from Rancho Cucamonga, California. He attended South Florida his freshman season, averaging 7.4 PPG to go with 4.6 RPG. Malik then made the decision to transfer to Saint Mary’s, indeed a very wise decision as Saint Mary’s will always be recognized as a pure basketball school, while at South Florida he’d have been an afterthought and wouldn’t have gotten much recognition at all. Malik and Saint Mary’s will constantly be fighting with Gonzaga at the top of the WCC standings and the two games he plays against Gonzaga every year will be extremely important to him, his school, and his NBA Draft stock. Last season, Malik put up 11 points and 6 rebounds against Gonzaga in their first matchup, playing 22 minutes in the road game and shot 5-12 from the field. His second performance against Gonzaga was one to forget, a 2 point, 5 rebound, 3 foul effort in a loss. But not a game for Fitts to forget but rather a game to review and to get better from. When Saint Mary’s went on to beat Gonzaga in the conference championship, Malik only played 12 minutes but his defense for those 12 minutes was huge as Saint Mary’s won 60-47. Malik pitched in 8 points to go with his great defense that night. My favorite game from Malik’s first season in Moraga was a 30 point, 8 rebound effort in a win over San Francisco. He played 37 minutes, shot 12-20 from the field, was 4-8 from three, and added 3 assists along with 3 steals. It was a stellar game from Fitts and the thing I was most impressed with was his ability to stay out of foul trouble. Something he was not always able to do. In 10 of the 34 games Fitts played in, he had 4 or more fouls. Add 12 games where he had 3 fouls. That’s 22 games of foul trouble, in 64% of the games Malik played in, he was playing with a fear of fouling out. That takes away from his performance, yes he averaged 15.2 PPG and 7.6 RPG for the season. That’s really good, but I know Malik can be a lot better. I’m expecting Malik to score 20.1+ PPG this season and add 8.4+ RPG. Staying out of foul trouble will be one of the reasons his production will increase next season. I expect Malik to shoot near 47.5% again which is a really good % and one that I believe he can sustain. His 40.6% clip from 3 is a stat to keep an eye on as this is an area of Fitts game that can really be instrumental for his NBA Draft stock. If Malik can up his 3-Point % to somewhere around 43% in addition to averaging 20 and 8, he’ll be a coveted prospect and a possible first round pick.
Watch Malik Fitts and Saint Mary’s this year. Malik has first round potential and I believe he’ll improve in numerous areas of his game and become a household name amongst the mid-major basketball scene.