Sunday, October 16, 2016

KU transfer Malik Newman soaking up Kansas basketball experience

Kansas guard Malik Newman

Kansas guard Malik Newman


He’s still more than 12 months away from actually being able to experience the rivalries for himself, but Kansas transfer Malik Newman recently indicated that he had a pretty good idea of just how competitive Big 12 basketball can be.

The reason? The intensity Newman has tasted so far during summer pick-up games and early-season practices after transferring to KU from Mississippi State following his freshman season has made it abundantly clear.

“It’s just like the Kansas-OU game every time we hit the court,” said Newman, referencing last season’s triple-overtime thriller won by Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. “From the summer, when I first started playing, it’s a battle every time we hit the court. But once we leave the court, it’s a brotherhood.”

Fellow-newcomer, freshman Josh Jackson, had similar feedback about just how impressed he had been thus far.

“We spend all day in practice playing against each other and sometimes we all forget that we’re on the same team,” Jackson marveled. “When we remember that, it gets kind of scary. I’m like, ‘Man, these guys are really, really good and we’re all gonna be playing together.’”

For now, the intense practice showdowns are the best Newman can hope for out of his Kansas career, which will not officially start until the 2017-18 season after he sits out his transfer year as required by the NCAA.

Newman will be allowed to practice this season and he plans to make the most out of every minute so he can be ready for his true debut next fall.

Asked which Jayhawks he had enjoyed battling with the most so far in practice, Newman could not pinpoint any one individual.

“I mean, just everybody,” he said. “There’s no one person or two people in particular. Just competing each and every day on both ends of the floor to try to help those guys get better and for those guys to try to help me get better.”

Newman, who listed Late Night as his favorite part of the Kansas experience to date, said point guards Devonte’ Graham — his host on his recruiting visit — and Frank Mason had done the most for him in terms of helping with the current adjustment and preparing for the future.

“They do a good job of showing me the way,” Newman said. “Showing me how the guards play in the system, the things that they have to do, the terms and things like that. They make my job a lot easier as far as learning the system and things like that.”

It’s that closeness and all-for-one mentality that inspired Newman to pick Kansas in the first place. And he’s happy to report that it has been even better than he hoped and expected.

“On my visit, all of them showed me love,” Newman said. “But (Graham) kept in touch with me and just expressed the feeling of what it was like to play at Kansas and told me some good things I needed to hear that persuaded me to come.”


Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

While reading this, I just kept mulling over the thought "Iron sharpens iron".

Benz Junque 3 years, 7 months ago

Man, we're going to be really good this year and even better, I really LIKE this team. We have a good group of young men that are busting their butt at every opportunity to get better. Ultimately, that is what most KU fans want to see from KU players. From the reports about off season workouts, summer pick up games and now real practices, it sounds like this group is giving it all they can.

Give it your all. That's all we ask. It's going to be a fun year cheering for this team.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

Definitely a great roster from a talent perspective. Sometimes losing a Perry Ellis is necessary to allow players behind him to gain experience and develop. But that kind of talent on a roster is necessary in a time when blue blood programs are getting bluer. Different polls say different things, but powerhouse programs Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Villanova, Indiana, and Michigan State are in many peoples' top tens. Also ranked highly are Louisville, Villanova, UCLA, and Arizona. The point being that competition is going to be very tough this year and a team's talent on the roster is going to count for a lot.

I like this team too, and I'll tell you what makes me excited for them. The veterans are solid and take pressure off of "X-factor" freshmen Josh Jackson and Udoka Azubuike. Those young guys will have to learn the X's and O's, but they won't be playing with the pressure that they have to be the Man. If they are, that's great. Just saying they wont be in the crucible of having the team's expectations resting entirely upon their shoulders. And again, our veterans will provide the kind of leadership necessary to make a run at a title.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

Newman is going to look around next fall and wonder where everybody went. There is a very high probability that six or seven of the top 8/9 expected rotation guys will be gone, leaving only Azubuike and maybe Vick as the lone returnees to defend our '08 title in San Antonio.

With recruiting the current HS crop not looking all that great, Self will probably be dipping deeply into the transfer and international pool.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

You're all over it Suzi. I think you're right about our upcoming recruiting class. Not looking very great at the moment. Obviously, as you know, a lot of kids are signing later, so Kansas seems to be in on a lot of the late decisions. Still, I think you're right: we may have to go looking for talent elsewhere, especially if we miss on some key targets in the upcoming class. Of course, some juco prospects have worked out well for other schools in the Big 12. Transfers from D1 programs may help, but not for another year after theyve come on board so that won't help us next season necessarily. But I like the appeal of international players for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is their coachability.

Jay Scott 3 years, 7 months ago

It's early Suzi. The best recruits often don't sign early (Wiggins, Jackson..) and there's always a player or two that returns when many didn't expect them to before the season began (Selden, Ellis...).

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

Sexton/Preston/Brown/Young are all still good potential signees that could make for a stellar class. Regardless, next year Newman will a huge key that needs to step up, big time for us to continue our string of successes.

Matthew Peters 3 years, 7 months ago

we cant defend a title from eight years ago.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

I get your sarcasm. You and Suzi both want the same thing, though: a '17 National Title.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm hoping for a 'double-title-defense' for the '18 team.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 7 months ago

With Newman Vick and Azubuike returning that's a solid core. Dwight Mitch and Evan will provide lots of depth up front. If both Svi and Graham leave I would say it's likely that we get at least one of Sexton or Young. It would be nice to get an elite 4 + some multi year players for inside and outside.

Humpy Helsel 3 years, 7 months ago

I love to think about the psychological analysis that goes into which player to pair up with a recruit. That pair up, knowing the recruit and the current player are going to be alone together and will in effect, be the recruits chaperone, could be crucial. In this case, it was "Devonte, meet Malik. Your senior year, if you stay, Malik will be your bad ass back court mate (and "muscle" should it be needed) in the way Frank is now. If you go pro, Devonte after this year, well...Malik will continue the legacy."

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 3 years, 7 months ago

I don't know how they do it. If the players decide or the coaches place them when rooming but that seems to be a recurring mention by players that make big plays together. I don't see that on other bball boards and articles I follow.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 7 months ago

Been out of town for awhile, so am a little slow in adding my two cents worth.

Have really enjoyed all of the comments and love the enthusiasm about this year. Yes, next year could be a "transition", but we have been there before and always seem to come out fine.

I agree that this year could be very special. All the ingredients are there, and if the chemistry is as good as it seems, look out!

Of course, when you get to the end of the season, one loss and you're gone, so you have to be somewhat lucky as well as sharp. When we won it all in 2008, Stephen Curry almost sent us home early in the Elite 8. Then, we played our best half of the year in the first half against UNC and had "Mario's Miracle" in the championship game.

All I know is that I am going to enjoy the ride. Haven't seen a game in person since retiring to Arizona in 1999, but I have tickets for the UNLV game on December 22. My sister is almost as big a fan as I am, and we will be decked out in our Crimson and Blue for the UNLV fans. They don't have much this year, so we should be able to "crow" a little, provided we don't have a pre-Christmas letdown.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 7 months ago

By the way, I like your analogy Joe, of "iron sharpens iron." Kind of reminds me of the Steven Covey principle of keep "sharpening the saw."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.