It’s that time again: time to get to know all of Kentucky’s top targets in the next recruiting class. Over the summer, we’ll be breaking down the elite prospects in the 2015 class, starting with the player John Calipari may covet most: combo guard Malik Newman.
MALIK “The Machine” NEWMAN
Jackson, Mississippi (Callaway)
6’3″, 174 lbs.
Top247: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PG
247 Composite: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PG
Rivals: No. 1 overall, No. 1 SG
ESPN: No. 2 overall, No. 1 SG
Scout: No. 2 overall, No. 1 SG
Website (yes he already has a website): iammaliknewman.com
Offer list, in order of interest level (via 247 Sports)
Warmer: Kansas, Kentucky
Warm: Mississippi State, NC State, Ole Miss, Duke
Cool: Arizona, Arkansas, UConn, Florida State, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Georgetown
247 Sports Crystal Ball: 90% Kentucky 10% Kansas
Buzz: Malik Newman is by far the best scorer in the 2015 class, and considered by most to be its elite player. Kentucky is the heavy favorite for his services, mainly because one of the few things Malik and his family have said about his recruitment is that he wants to play immediately at a school with a good track record of putting players in the pros. If that doesn’t scream “Kentucky,” I don’t know what does.
June 17, 2013: Kentucky offers Newman
September 18, 2013: John Calipari visits Newman
November 5, 2013: John Calipari and Kenny Payne visit Newman
Unofficial visits taken: LSU (11/23/2013), Mississippi State (9/7/2013, 10/12/12, 8/31/12), Ole Miss (9/15/12)
Official visits taken: None
When’s he deciding?: Not anytime soon. Newman has made it clear that all he’s focused on right now is improving his game, and has admitted that he doesn’t pay much attention to recruiting or coaches. He’s one who could wait as long as April to decide. Oh boy!
— Can score from anywhere on the court with ease
— Very impressive mid-range game
— Fearless in the lane
— Excellent at creating space to shoot
— “Short memory” (misses don’t bother him)
— Neither a true point guard nor a true shooting guard, Newman is best when he’s creating his own offense, so if he’s going to play point, he needs to learn how to create for others as well
— Not there yet defensively
What they’re saying about Malik
247 Sports’ Eric Gardner on Malik’s performance in the Jayhawk Invitational:
The 6-3 guard took over game maybe more than any other player this weekend. At times he was just a part of his team but usually during the game for a stretch he would take the ball and go at the rim or pull-up from 16 or create turnovers into easy buckets for four or five minutes. Nobody could stop him, he was dominant.
Maybe the best part of his game this weekend was his ability to create space to shoot. His handles are well above average and he has the know-how to create space without even taking a dribble. If his shot is falling, he can go off for some pretty large numbers in the stat column.
A scoring machine who is virtually unstoppable on the offensive end. Has a beautiful jumper that features deep range and he’s plenty capable of creating off the dribble. Has a body that is built for contact. Ideally, will develop more point guard skills because he is slightly undersized as a two.
“Malik Newman can go anywhere he wants; he’s that good. He’s a good decision-maker, so he could play some (point guard at the next level. But his biggest asset is that he can fill it up. He’s in the conversation of best scorers in high school basketball, regardless of age, and when gets to college, he’s going to be an elite-level scorer. He’s a really good shot-maker who can create and he’s very good off the dribble.”
“The times I’ve watched Malik, I could see him on an NBA court and making an impact right now,” Meyer said. “He has such a mature game. He’s got a strong mental understanding of the game, he’s physically built well, and he has the total package as a combo guard. It’s difficult to pinpoint a weakness.”
Former Calipari player comparison
I’ll admit, there was no perfect match for Malik among Cal’s players at Kentucky, but Knight was the best I could find. Maybe 70% Knight, 30% James Young. Either way, Malik can score and slash like Knight, but isn’t quite as impressive a distributor, being a combo guard and all. Most of all, it seems that Malik also has Knight’s drive and basketball IQ, two intangibles you just can’t teach.
Who is Malik off the court?
As I mentioned earlier, Malik already has his own website, and it is impressive. It makes KSR look like a Geocities page (not that hard, I will admit). Whoever is in charge of his marketing is a genius. The Clarion-Ledger even did a 7-minute video profile of Malik that’s as impressive a production as I’ve ever seen on a high school player. You can watch it above.
If everything in that video is true (and it must be, right?), then Malik is one of those kids who is solely focused on becoming a superstar. He’s the type of gym rat that Calipari loves, in the mold of MKG and Brandon Knight. Malik claims that during the season, his life is all workouts, practice, and school. And while he does most things normal kids do, he doesn’t go to parties.
However, when he is home, he likes to lounge in armchairs in designer clothes while holding expensive leather tote bags:
He’s also fond of flashy shirts:
Good. We’ll need someone to follow in Willie’s footsteps.
Ladies of Lexington, he’s ready for you, too:
Best pic ever ðŸ˜‚ðŸ˜‚ pic.twitter.com/RsSjGjW9Xe
— malik newman (@iammaliknewman) May 1, 2013
Final judgment (How badly do we want him?)
Pretty badly. Newman is the type of player you can build a class and a team around. He’s just that good. Malik seems like the type of player that will do whatever it takes to maximize his chance at the next level; the perfect place to do that? Kentucky. Why do you think we’re considered the favorite?