Thursday, June 2, 2016


Tom Keegan: Newman would be good get for Kansas

Mississippi State guard Malik Newman (14) dribbles up court past Arkansas forward Keaton Miles (55) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Mississippi State won 78-46. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State guard Malik Newman (14) dribbles up court past Arkansas forward Keaton Miles (55) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Mississippi State won 78-46. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)


Any time a McDonald’s All-American advertised as a one-and-done sensation struggles to find consistency as a freshman and transfers, the spoiled-brat radar goes up, especially when a parent does his talking for him.

Then you look at what Horatio Webster said about his son, Malik Newman, leaving Mississippi State and a different picture emerges.

“He was just never in a happy place,” Webster told the Clarion-Ledger. “... People knew Malik had the Magic Johnson smile and he was happy and basketball was his life. I think in a sense some of that was taken away. I’m not saying that Ben (Howland, coach) took it away. But I think some of it was taken away due to injuries, due to style of play, due to his immaturity.”

Honest, reasonable take that suggests dad doesn’t think the world revolves around his perfect son. You have to love that Webster cited Malik’s “immaturity,” as one reason things didn’t work out.

Hubris could have forced Newman to make himself eligible for the NBA draft. Instead, he decided to transfer, which means he must sit out a year before gaining eligibility to play in games for his next school. Another good sign for a teenager who spent much of his life being told by strangers he’s the second coming of Michael Jordan.

Kansas coach Bill Self wanted Newman out of high school and he appears worth pursuing just as aggressively now with or without landing Duke transfer Derryck Thornton. Newman and Thornton hounding Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham every day in practice would make for some of the nation’s most heated guard battles.

Newman was ranked No. 1 by Rivals in the Class of 2016 as a junior and faded to eighth as a senior.

As is the case with many talented freshmen, Newman encountered mixed results. He averaged 11.3 points, 2.2 assists and 1.9 turnovers and shot .391 from the field and .379 on three-pointers. By the time he plays in his next game, Newman will be two years older, stronger and wiser than when he compiled those numbers. They all will get significantly better. As a freshman, Graham posted almost identical shooting statistics as Newman did for Mississippi State, shooting .391 from the field and .377 from three. As a sophomore, Graham improved to a .460 overall accuracy rate and .441 from three. Thornton, by the way, shot .390 overall for Duke and .325 from three.

The other benefit of taking transfers is that it’s they must fall in line, lest they be branded difficult to coach, which would hurt them in the draft.


Trey Hohman 5 years, 7 months ago

Fairly Athletic. No handle.

Thus far -- one of the worst passers in the nation for a combo guard. Streaky Shooter. Temperamental.....Is it simply bad coaching?

The next Josh Selby?

Roger Ortega 5 years, 7 months ago

Trey Freakin Hohman! haha good to see you posting here man!

Dee Shaw 5 years, 7 months ago

Right on Trey. Love your comparison of Josh Selby.

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Interesting piece. Unlike Josh Selby, he is not turning pro, but recognizing his shortcomings. If Coach Self is interested in him, good enough for me. No matter how much I think I know about b ball, I figure Coach Self knows more. Just a hunch.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 7 months ago

sometime players are graded higher than they should be....maybe this was the case with newman.....but i think he has more upside that coach self can bring out......mentally if youre on a team you dont want to be on , a coach you dont care for and you are just not happy that can affect your play on the court....i have never seen him play but if you were ranked as high as he was .....the kid must be good.a fresh start with a new team is what he needs....a team at a winning program to showcase his talent is even better.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 7 months ago

Good points about how Newman's mental condition was probably in the gutter. Being a highly ranked recruit, he probably had visions of playing big time college BBall. Instead, right away he finds himself on a team losing to UMKC...and not making the NCAA Tournament.

Playing for Self will get his mind right.

Robert Brock 5 years, 7 months ago

I would rather see Thornton land at KU than Newman. Thornton knows how to run an offense and involve others. Don't tell Newman to feed the post - "Hey, why do I have to feed the post? I'm a star! I need the ball in MY hands!"

Ron Sterling 5 years, 7 months ago

It's not an either or proposition. Self already likes to play two point guards, and he's played 3 in the past. Newman is big enough to guard the 3, so a Thorton/Graham/Newman backcourt could still work if needs be.

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

Ron you're all over it. I unequivocally agree. Newman would have to accept the fact that if all 3 are on the court at the same time the ball wii not be in his hands as much as he might like, but if he is team oriented he will envision that with all 3 playing together this stands a real good chance of giving us our strongest lineup. We certainly could get up and down the court and hopefully share the ball. He is definitely big enough to guard the 3 if he wii buy in to Coach's emphasis on playing physical man to man. It will hinge on rather Newman buys in to the "one for all and all for one concept. It would be nice to see how unselfish a kid he is, not that I have heard his rep is he's just out for himself and at KU merely to get ready for the league. There is no doubt he is talented enough to contribute in a significant way.

James Miller 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's not judge too hard by freshman stats. I remember Chalmers stinking up the joint regularly as a freshman. I remember Marcus barely being able to hit a 10 foot jumper as a freshman. Both of these guys would be great additions. If Thornton comes, DeVonte can still play at the 2. If Newman comes he can switch to the point; no issues either way.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 7 months ago are right about Freshmen! Chalmers, as a Freshmen in Maui....Mason as a Freshmen in the Bahamas.....

Greg Ledom 5 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, but those freshmen sure were balling as the conference was wrapping up. The Chalmers freshmen crew that is.

Ryan Zimmerman 5 years, 7 months ago

Shocking Jarrett signed with UT Newman would be a great get for sure. Need some guards! I have a good feeling about him coming to KU for some reason. I think if it wasn't for his pops, he'd have been here already

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 7 months ago

Excellent analysis, Mr. Keegan.

The other day, I insinuated that there might be a "father" problem with Newman. I suppose I was thinking back to the David Padgett and perhaps Connor Frankamp situations. Anyway, like Mr. Macy, I said that, if Bill Self wants him, that's good enough for me.

Coach Self has an almost perfect record of proper rapport with his players, and when he doesn't, I put most of the blame on the player. This is the kind of mentorship that Malik needs, so I hope that he comes here. I'm convinced that he would be an asset.

I would also be remiss if I gave all of the credit to Coach Self, and he undoubtedly would agree with me. I can't think of a better staff in the country than KU's. Am especially fond of the work done by Russell Townsend, Norm Roberts, and Andrea Hudy, but that isn't meant to slight anyone. Rock Chalk!

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

Harlan, I too am unfortunately reminded of the Padgett- Frankamp fathers and that is a proper consideration. I am somewhat encouraged by the fact that Newman's dad said some of his son's problems at MSU, were caused by Malik's immaturity. He initially seems more objective about his son's strengths and weaknesses than the 2 dads you mentioned.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 7 months ago

More than one player has come into Kansas with weaknesses and emerged with much better fundamentals, understanding of the game, and overall a much better player. Newman has the tools, they just need some refining. Put him on the KU team and I'd bet he ends up a star. Likewise for Thornton.

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

He's pretty athletic isn't he Ryan? If HCBS was that high on him initially, it seems to be a no brainer. Get him, the kid can play.

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