At the age of three, Aislin Malcolm headed to the Carnegie Boys & Girls Club to participate in the Little Dribblers’ program that was, coincidentally, run by her mother. As her childhood went on, Malcolm noticed that she was always competing with teams higher than her own grade level, such as playing with eighth-graders as a sixth-grader. By the time her own eighth-grade season came around, Malcolm was in for a surprise in the form of her first college offer from Duquesne’s head coach, Dan Burt.
“Eighth grade was my first offer from Duquesne, and I didn’t even expect that,” said Malcolm. “Dan Burt just called me down to Duquesne one day and we talked and I got an offer.”
Malcolm chuckled at her own expense while thinking back on that moment. Since college was still a little further down the road, she was a little perplexed as to what getting an offer really meant.
“I remember, even after, I was just in shock and I even said, ‘What does that even mean?’ and then he explained it to me and told me that I didn’t have to take it.”
Not long after the Dukes began stating their case for Malcolm to play for their program, the Pitt coaching staff zeroed in on the guard as well. With the bright lights shining down on Chartiers Valley during a WPIAL playoff game during Malcolm’s freshman year, Pitt took full advantage of the school’s own Petersen Events Center serving as the host venue. Coaches took note of the young phenom’s abilities up close from the front row and reached out with an offer just days later.
Pitt’s long-term recruiting efforts paid dividends when it came time for Malcolm to make her college decision. The Panthers also met some of the criteria she set when choosing her college team, like being in a Power Five conference and being close to home.
“I love the coaches and how they’ve been with me since freshman year like they were there with me since the start,” she said. “Being close to home is a big part of it too, cause I knew I couldn’t go that far.”
Several Power Five schools reached out to Malcolm in hopes of making a pitch worthy of her commitment to the team. Her final list of schools boasted both local roots and the opportunity to go outside of her comfort zone and play hours away from the Pittsburgh area. Other schools may have served as contenders, but Malcolm had made her decision long before her commitment became official.
“I’ve been going to Pitt camp, honestly, since like fourth grade, so, I mean, I’ve just always been attracted to that school and everything. It was between Pitt, Penn State, Northwestern and then Boston College. I always knew it was going to be Pitt in the end.”
— Aislin Malcolm (@AislinMalcolm) December 3, 2020
Malcolm’s high school career with Chartiers Valley has featured championships and a record-breaking win streak of 64 games. Even after a devastating loss in the PIAA State Championship earlier this year, Malcolm is confident about the upcoming season due to the bond that is shared between her and her teammates.
“Our connection is what really sets us apart from other teams and just how well we share the ball and how well we get along on and off the floor.”
Personally, Malcolm is focused on getting her game to a point where she can flourish against ACC competition as a Panther. Her basketball endeavors against talented players on both the high school and AAU levels have helped her game grow throughout high school, but she realizes what lies ahead at the next level.
“Next up for me is just getting faster, like doing everything quicker, and getting stronger cause the ACC is really fast and the girls are a lot stronger than high school.”
Like several top women’s basketball players in the area, Malcolm has a long history with the Western PA Bruins that has helped better her game by pitting her against some phenomenal players from around the nation. Between those long weekends at tournaments this summer, Malcolm and other talented players from the area are participating in the CJ2K League. Malcolm appreciates the atmosphere that the summer league brings with it.
“The CJ2K League is just something fun to do for everyone to just get along and go play basketball. It is a really cool experience like you’re outside, there’s music, an announcer, so I think it’s just something to relieve pressure off you.”
Aislin Malcolm needs a nickname!
"________________" ✍ pic.twitter.com/sjwdcvJ6Dn
— WE GOT NEXT (@CJ2KLeague) July 15, 2021
Malcolm hopes to experience a strong conclusion to her high school career, too, this upcoming season before finally making the trek to Oakland to represent the Panthers.