HAYWARD, Calif. -
The Elite Youth Basketball League
program listed Mississippi freshman sensation Malik Newman
at 6-foot-6, which is more than three inches generous.
It seemed appropriate really.
Kids with this much talent and drive and hyperbole seem larger than life.
But Newman, a 6-2½ combo guard from Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
playing for the AAU Jackson Tigers is trying to stay grounded.
The MaxPreps Freshman of the Year
said he's trying to improve his leadership skills, defense and making those around him better.
He's scored a team-best 37 points in three EYBL games thus far at Dream Courts, just south of Oakland, but all defeats. He knows eyeballs are on him and it doesn't bother him. He relishes the pressure.
"Once your name gets out on the scene you know you have to bring your 'A' game every time out," said Newman, who averaged 22.9 points and 4.6 points a game while leading Callaway to a Class 5A state title. "Someone is always going to want to claim they are better than me."
Newman, who doctors say is projected to be at least 6-6, attempts to stay ahead of the curve by tracking his peers.
On his bedroom walls aren't posters of Kevin Durant or LeBron James, but rather a list of 12 players who are listed by recruiting services as his competition for best in class.
"Frankly, my goal is to always be better than them," he said.
He said his freshman season at Callaway couldn't have gone much better. "I did just about everything I set my mind to," he said.
Callaway head coach Wayne Brent, who has coached some very good ones at the Mississippi power, told MaxPreps editor Jason Hickman that Newman's mind and competitive edge is what largely sets him apart.
"He's just one of those rare kids that comes along every 10 years or so," 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."
Jackson head coach Larry Stamps had just one word when asked what Newman needs to improve on.
"Defense," he said.
Newman said he's devoted to improving that facet. With three more years of high school, he's got plenty of time.
"I don't think I have a strength in my game, I just try to do everything well," Newman said. "I have room to grow."
At least three inches. Boo who?
After going 14 straight games without a defeat in three EBYL events, CIA Bounce out of Canada lost its second straight game, this one to Boo Williams out of Virginia, 78-68. Anthony Barber
, a 6-2 guard and second-team Junior All-American from Hampton (Va.)
, had 23 points and four assists and Allerik Freeman
, a 6-3 guard from Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.)
, added 21 points for the winners.
Barber is ranked the No. 9 junior in the MaxPreps Top 100, and Freeman No. 15.
It helped offset a monster game by consensus No. 1 sophomore Andrew Wiggins
, who had 32 points on 11 of 17 shooting, including six 3-pointers. CIA Bounce also got 16 points and a game-high six assists from Tyler Ennis
Boo Williams (10-7) came back to score a 57-55 win over Mean Streets, which knocked CIA Bounce from the ranks of the undefeated Friday night
. Barber had another big game with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Kendrick Nunn
, who had a game-high 22 against CIA Bounce, was held to four points for Mean Streets, which got 12 apiece from Alex Foster and Jaylon Tate.
CIA Bounce came back to win its nightcap 72-58 even though Wiggins played just nine minutes, took two shots and didn't score. Ennis led the way with 16 points.
Mean Streets also was beat handily by the Oakland Soldiers 56-41 thanks to a combined 30 points from Tyree Robinson
and Stanley Johnson
, but the hometown team was curiously handled easily by an 8-9 Howard Pulley team 63-48 as Quinton Hooker, a 6-1 guard from Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)
, had 21 points.
Heading into Sunday play in Division D, CIA Bounce still leads with a 15-2 record, followed by the Houston Hoops (14-3) and Mean Streets (13-4). This and that
* Mac Irvin (Ill.), led by the nation's top 2013 recruit and recent Sports Illustrated cover boy Jabari Parker
, split two games, losing to All Ohio Red 56-55 in overtime before rolling Alabama Challenge 62-39. Nigel Hayes
, a 6-7 junior from Whitmer (Toledo, Ohio)
, had 17 points and eight rebounds and Zach Denny, a 6-1 guard from Valley View (Germantown, Ohio)
, added 15 for All Ohio Red, which improved to 14-3 in Division C. It held Parker to just jut 10 points, nine rebounds on 5 of 16 shooting in this game for first place. Mac Irvin is 13-4.
Hayes is the nation's No. 48 recruit from the class of 2013.
* Projected No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis was on hand admiring Saturday's action, which featured 38 games over nine hours.
* The California Supreme (13-4) play All Ohio Red tonight at 6:30 in a battle for Division C lead.Watch more videos of Hampton basketball