Bill Self on hand for prep Newman’s show

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Blue-chip basketball prospect Malik Newman put on quite a show in front of Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self and Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne at Saturday’s Marshall County Hoop Fest in Benton, Kentucky.

The 6-foot-3 senior combo guard from Callaway High in Jackson, Mississippi, who is ranked No. 3 nationally by Rivals.com, scored 42 points off 15-of-29 shooting (4-for-9 from three, 8-for-12 from line) in Callaway’s 85-71 loss to Orangeville (Canada) Prep.

He finished four points shy of Monta Ellis’ record-setting 46-point performance set in 2004 at the festival. The No. 1 player in the Class of 2016, Thon Maker, had 19 points for Orangeville.

Newman, who is considering KU, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Mississippi, UConn, Texas A&M, North Carolina State and others, is expected to choose a school sometime in April.

By the time he decides, his recruitment figures to be as highly publicized as that of Andrew Wiggins’ two years ago.

“Newman’s true gift comes before he even puts up a shot. His quickness and natural instincts make him nearly impossible to defend on the perimeter. He sizes up an opponent, finds a weakness and strikes immediately,” Ben Roberts of Kentucky.com wrote of Newman, who scored 35 points in Friday’s 76-65 loss to Archbishop Carroll of Pennsylvania.

“He’s got a lot of moves,” Callaway coach David Sanders told kentucky.com. “You can really throw anything at him and he’ll figure out a way to get past it. And the best part of his game is he doesn’t really know what he’s going to do. He’s just reacting to the defense. He’s one of those rare kids that can make any shot. And that’s hard to game plan for.”

Newman did not update reporters on his recruitment. “I choose not to speak on it,” he told Kentucky.com.

His dad, Horatio Webster, who is a former Mississippi State standout, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that his wife asked him last week where he thought Malik would go to school.

“I don’t have any idea,” was his answer. “We’re not even talking about it.”

Most expect him to visit KU sometime during the 2014-15 season.

“It (recruitment) is open to everybody right now,” Malik told the Herald-Leader.

He told the Louisville Courier Journal that he, No. 2-ranked Jaylen Brown (6-7 forward, Wheeler High, Marietta, Georgia), and No. 18 Brandon Ingram (6-8, Kinston, North Carolina High) might want to attend school as a package deal.

“Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA are our common schools,” Bragg told the C-J. “We talk every other day, to see how practice is going. We’ll have to see,” he added, asked the odds of all three picking the same school.

KU assistant Norm Roberts watched Brown score 34 points and grab 12 boards in Wheeler High’s 97-61 win over Walton High on Saturday in Georgia. Coaches from UCLA, Georgia and Georgia Tech also were there in pursuit of Brown.

Bragg sensational: Self, Payne and Illinois’ John Groce watched No. 14-ranked Carlton Bragg score 25 points and grab 13 rebounds in Cleveland Villa Angela St. Joseph High’s 60-54 victory over Archbishop Carroll on Saturday at the Hoop Fest.

The 6-9, 225-pound Bragg scored 19 of his points the second half, including the go-ahead points on a slam dunk. He also hit a three from the corner late.

“That (Kentucky) platoon system, oh I love it,” Bragg told the Herald-Leader. “It gives everyone a chance to show what they have. They play hard. I’d definitely like that,” he added of playing in one of two UK platoons.

He’s down to KU, UK, Illinois and UCLA.

Mason update: KU sophomore guard Frank Mason III, who sprained his ankle in Friday’s victory over Florida, did not practice Sunday. He’s listed as day-to-day, Self said. KU’s coach indicated after the game Mason might “miss a practice or two” but likely will play in the next game, Wednesday’s 6 p.m. clash at Georgetown.

Diallo update: No. 6 Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 senior from Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York, had 15 points and 12 boards late Saturday night in a 68-66 Hoop Fest loss to Oak Hill Academy.

Diallo, who will not discuss his recruitment during the season, is considering KU, Kentucky, Iowa State, Pitt and St. John’s.

Maker a keeper: Thon Maker, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2016 but likely headed to the Class of 2015, had 14 points and 10 rebounds in Thursday’s loss to Sunrise Christian Academy of Kansas at the Hoop Fest. His guardian, Ed Smith, told the Courier-Journal that KU, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville and Stanford have shown great interest in the 7-footer from Athlete Institute in Mono, Ontario, Canada.