After building a national reputation by dominating middle school showcases and camps over the past couple of years, Malik Newman
was named the No. 1 player in the Class of 2015 by Hoop Scoop last month.
Too much, too soon is an argument for another day, but the attention isn't burdening the 15-year-old freshman at Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
through the first month of his high school career.
Newman, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound guard, is averaging 22.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists through nine games for Callaway (7-2), a perennial powerhouse in Mississippi. Saturday at an event in Dyersburg, Tenn., he pumped in 24 points – including five 3-pointers – against nationally-ranked Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.).
"He's just one of those rare kids that comes along every 10 years or so," Callaway head coach Wayne Brent said. "He can really score it and handles the ball well. He's a scoring point-combo guard. His work ethic is really, really, really good. He's in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning. It's unbelievable."
Callaway was the home to another middle school phenom during the 2007-08 season. LaQuinton Ross – now a freshman at Ohio State – entered high school regarded as a mega-star in the making and was also regarded as the top player in his class. He struggled with the expectations and was eventually dismissed by some as a Top 100 player altogether. Ross left Callaway for Murrah High School in Jackson as a sophomore and eventually wound up at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J.
Brent doesn't expect the same type of growing pains for Newman.
"I think there are a lot of kids that don't know how to handle those rankings," Brent said. "It motivates him, motivates him to get up and be in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning. It hasn't bothered him at all. I think it actually helps him stay motivated."
Callaway features several collegiate prospects, including 6-8, 225-pound junior TreShawn Bolden
, but integrating Newman into a leading role hasn't been an issue.
"He's never played against guys his age, he's always played against older kids," Brent said. "He is real respectful and works hard. They know he is in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning and they don't necessarily want to do that.
"I didn't want to deal with a kid that had the hype but didn't want to work. He embraced it more than anything. That's what made me take a liking to the kid. We have hard-nosed, tough kids in our program and he fits that mold."
Newman's season-high came against Nov. 17 in a 61-45 win over Bailey Magnet (Jackson), going for 32 points to go along with six rebounds and six steals. His father, Horatio Webster, was a two-time All-SEC pick at Mississippi State in 1996-97 and 1997-98 as a 6-8 power forward. Webster later played professionally in Venezuela and in the ABA.
More fab frosh updates
* Providence (Burbank, Calif.)
captured the Paul Sutton Tip-Off Classic last weekend behind the high-scoring exploits of Marcus Lovett Jr.
, a 5-11 point guard. Lovett Jr. averaged 30.5 points, 4.8 assists, 4.3 steals and 3.3 rebounds per game over four contests in the event, including 39 points in the semifinal and 37 in the championship game against San Marino.
* Another Californian, 6-4 guard Tyler Dorsey
of Ribet Academy (Los Angeles)
, is also stuffing the stat shat. The Fighting Frogs have reported stats for three of four games to MaxPreps, with Dorsey posting 24.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per outing. He played up with the Belmont Shore 17s during July's Fab 48 in Las Vegas.
* Rockwall (Texas)
features two of the nation's top freshmen in Austin Grandstaff
and Elijah Thomas
. Grandstaff, a 6-4 guard, is the team's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game. Thomas, a 6-8 post player, is putting up 7.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
* Isaiah Briscoe
made his highly-anticipated debut at St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
by chipping in with 11 points during a 97-48 drubbing of St. Andrew's (Barrington, R.I.).
* Former Seattle youth star Allonzo Trier
is now playing for home school program Oklahoma City Storm (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
. The 6-1 guard is throwing up 24.6 points per game, including a 41-point eruption in a 67-62 win over Trent Internationale (Sugar Land, Texas).