Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball senior Malik Jefferson recently spoke with PressBox about being teammates with his brother, Jalen, at the Mount from 2018-2021 and more. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Jefferson averaged 8.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last year. The Mountaineers won the Northeast Conference last year, earning a trip to Bloomington, Ind., for the NCAA Tournament’s First Four.
PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Malik Jefferson: My dad was a big-time basketball player in New York. He went to Rhode Island and then he played at Canisius. From a young age, he really got us interested in it — me, my brother and my sister.
PB: How did your father push you in basketball and life?
MJ: From a young age, he taught us how important it was to completely commit. If you want to go play college basketball, you’re going to have to commit and work hard. It’s not easy. Those things he taught us really helped us.
PB: How cool was it for you to be teammates with your brother, Jalen, at Mount St. Mary’s from 2018-2021?
MJ: It was amazing, especially for our family. They got to see us play together in middle school, high school, AAU and in college, too. They really value that.
PB: What did you learn from playing with and against your brother growing up?
MJ: Whenever you face someone that you play against a lot, they tend to know what you do more than you do. Just playing against them, you can get better because they know what you want to do and they’ll stop you from doing it. You get to expand your skill set by playing against someone that you play against all the time.
PB: How competitive was it on the basketball court with your brother and sister growing up?
MJ: It was crazy competitive. Believe it or not, it was competitive with my dad, too. He always wanted to prove that he’s still got it, so he never made it easy for us.
PB: Why did you choose to come to the Mount? Was it to be teammates with your brother?
MJ: That was part of it, but it was just a nice community. We came on our visit, they really showed us a good time and made us feel welcome. They had a really good coaching staff and I knew a couple guys going here.
PB: What’s your favorite memory at the Mount?
MJ: Definitely winning the championship, for sure. It was amazing. It was unreal. I don’t know how else to describe it. We worked hard to get there and I feel like we delivered.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about Mount St. Mary’s and Emmitsburg?
MJ: I really like the business program at our school. You always hear about how reputable it is and how you’ll be able to get a job coming out of the business program, and I think that’s a good thing.
PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
MJ: Early in my college career, there were a lot of players I looked up to. We have a couple older guys on the team that really set a good example. You’ve got Omar [Habwe], played with me last year. He just brought an intensity to practice. You could tell every day in practice, he wanted to win. Guys like that are good for the team. I think everybody should try to be one.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
MJ: I would just say star in your role. Don’t try to do too much because that’s when things start to go wrong. If you do what you do well — whether you’re rebounding or shooting, whatever it is — just do that well. As you’re going forward, you can work to add more to your team.
PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
MJ: I’m going to take the CPA exam when I graduate. I’m not sure what I want to do with it yet, but I think that’s the first step.
Photo Credit: David Sinclair