Malik Pope is a “Five Star Prospect” with an unusual skill set. The returning player, now a sophomore, stands 6’10” tall and weighs in at a trim two hundred five pounds. At his height, Pope is, of course a Forward. In fact, he can perform well as a Power Forward and also as a Small Forward.
But what makes this dynamic player so interesting to pundits and scouts and to his Head Coach and teammates at San Diego State University is the fact that he has the skills to play at the guard position or, more specifically, to play “like a guard.”
That makes Malik Pope unusual, something of a “one of a kind” talent and a potential asset to professional teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a versatile player with lots of talent. And when he declares himself ready to play professionally, his services will be in demand.
Meanwhile, Pope is preparing to start his sophomore season with the San Diego State Aztecs. And the sky is the limit for this improving star player and, of course, for his team.
When Malik Pope selected San Diego State University prior to last season, he rejected overtures from the University of Kansas, a school which has enjoyed much more success than San Diego State University. But Malik Pope was born in Sacramento, California and apparently wanted to play ball close to home. His decision to play in southern California makes him the best player to accept a basketball scholarship from the Aztecs since former NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kawhi Leonard chose the same school several years earlier.
There was great anticipation a year ago when Pope made his decision to play for the Aztecs. At the time, he had been rated number seventeen prospect in America by Rivals150 and the fifty-fifth best prospect by ESPN100.
His high rating was probably based on his production as a high school junior. In that year, Malik Pope averaged 15.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocked shots. Those were “great numbers” that seemed to lend credence to the tremendous talent this player possesses.
Amazingly, Pop suffered two broken legs the following year and never played a high school game as a senior. And yet, a full year away from basketball did not discourage schools such as the University of Kansas and San Diego State University from pursuing this future National Basketball Association (NBA) star.
This guard in a forward’s body is set to perform as a “three guard” for the Aztecs in the upcoming 2015-2016 Season. The hope is that this outstanding player can replicate the success he enjoyed as a high school junior when he shot “lights out” from every part of the basketball floor.
In fact, Pope’s shooting average was an amazing sixty percent, meaning he canned six out of every ten shots he took. His accuracy from 3-point range was eye-opening, as well. It topped out at 48.3%.
Pope will be playing and scoring from the perimeter this season. And because the Aztecs will be employing a three guard offense it is likely that opponents will have trouble keeping this squad under control.
Courtesy of IGN