2023’s Malakai Stears is one of Sarasota’s most decorated swingmen | Youth1

2023’s Malakai Stears is one of Sarasota’s most decorated swingmen

Malakai Stears is one of the best players from the Sarasota, FL area in the Class of 2023.  


The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Stears, who attends Riverview High School, is a dynamic player that works as a shooting guard and small forward. 



Stears has earned much recognition during his career, such as:


  • Beef O Brady’s Charlotte County Shootout All-Tournament selection
  • SWFL Holiday Showcase Hustle Award
  •  Lakeland Fire Spring Classic MVP
  •  Impact Showcase MVP
  • Tampa Bay Tournament of Champions All-Tournament selection
  • Think Pink All-Tournament selection
  • Sarasota Xplosion Shootout All-Tournament selection
  •  SWFL Kickoff All-Tournament selection


Stears is humbled by the accolades.


“It means that all the work I put in pays off and if I continue to put in the work, I have a chance of playing basketball at the highest level,” Stears said. 


No matter the opponent, every game Stears is determined to give it his all. 


Stears is going all out. 


The motor is always at full throttle whenever Stears steps between the lines.


“My mindset is to dominate whoever is in front of me. I try to impact the game in every way I can,” Stears said. “I can fill whatever position my coach needs me to play so I do whatever is needed to win.”


Stears has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the hardwood. Stears tells why he enjoys the game of basketball so much. 


“I love the feeling of dominating my opponent. Reacting to the way they guard you and being able to produce regardless of how they guard you,” Stears said. “It’s always a challenge when I’m on the court and I love that.”


Stears has learned many valuable lessons from playing basketball that he applies to his everyday life. 


“Playing basketball has taught me that you can achieve anything as long as you put in the work,” Stears said. 


Stears cherishes each moment on the court. 


“I love winning. So I can’t really pick a favorite moment,” Stears said. “Every time I win is my favorite memory.”


Stears takes his role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Stears makes sure he’s a daily positive influence on his peers.


“I lift other people up on the court. I don’t complain about their mistakes because it only brings my teammates down,” Stears said. “The best advice I give is to trust yourself. If you don’t believe you can do it, then you won’t be able to.”


Stears is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.


“I have learned to have a short memory. This helps in basketball and life. If things don’t go my way on the court or in life, I’ve just learned to move forward and never dwell on it. I can’t continue to improve if I’m still stuck in the past,” Stears said. “One of my coaches told me: ‘If you want to play at the highest level, you have to work like you’re already there.’  If I work as hard as people 5 years older as me now, by the time I get to that age, I’ll be way more advanced.”


Stears patterns his mentality after this all-time great. 


“I look up to LeBron James because he is the best all-around player,” Stears said. “The more versatile you are, the more opportunities there will be.”


Stears lists science as his favorite subject in school. 


“It’s interesting to learn how structures of life work,” Stears said. 


Stears explains his collegiate aspirations. 


“My dream college is anywhere I can play basketball at a high level and feel like I fit in,” Stears said. 


Stears is striving for greatness in all that he does. 


“My goal on the court is to dominate and make an impact in every way possible. I hope to play D-I basketball somewhere,” Stears said. “Off the court, I strive to excel in the classroom and always be improving myself.”



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