School: Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
College: Mississippi State
National Rankings: 247Sports.com – No. 7; ESPN.com – No. 10; Rivals.com – No. 8; Scout.com – No. 10.
Why he’s super: A lethal scorer who wants the ball in his hands in every big moment, Newman routinely takes – and makes – some of the most difficult shots of any player in the country. Newman averaged 29.7 points per game as a senior to cap one of most decorated high school careers ever in Mississippi. He won four consecutive state titles, scored 3,108 career points and was a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American. Newman has also been an alpha player for USA Basketball, winning gold medals and tournament MVP honors at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship and 2013 U16 FIBA Americas Championship. Newman could have been an exceptional complementary, off-ball guard at Kentucky, but he turned down the Wildcats and others to stay close to home, run the point and control the game for MSU, where his father played. Bet on Newman being among the leading scorers in the SEC next season.
Eric Bossi, Rivals.com: “Even if he doesn’t look like a hulk, he’s always played with good strength. His pull-up jumper is his biggest weapon and the thing he seems to have the most confidence in. And that’s the biggest thing with Malik – he’s a confident player. The guy is not scared of anything, and I respect that he’s been willing to say, ‘Hey, what I was looking for (in a college) is a situation where I can best showcase my abilities to reach my dreams.’ But I think that has mistakenly been portrayed or taken by some as that he doesn’t care about winning because I think Malik Newman is about winning. The guy won four straight state championships and won gold medals with Team USA. He’s not some dude who’s just out there purely for stats.”
Evan Daniels, Scout.com: “His obvious strength is his ability to put up points. … You could make the case that he’s the best perimeter scorer in the class. … I think they’re going to hand him the keys (at MSU) and say, ‘Rev up the engine, and let’s get it going.’ He wants the ball in hands. He wants to be a primary scorer. He wants to kind of have that type of early impact, and he’s going to get that at Mississippi State, because he’s going to score a lot of points in Year 1.”
Jerry Meyer, 247Sports.com: “Malik knows how to score. He handles the ball well, knows how to create space, get himself a shot and has just a strong overall feel as a combo guard. It’ll be interesting to see which position he plays. He’s a very uber-talented perimeter player.”
Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “Malik has really been on the national scene since he was a freshman. His DNA is to score the basketball, and he does that very well. When his 3-point shot is consistent and hot, he’s almost unguardable because then he can beat you off the bounce with a strong body. He’s got a nice pull-up game. He can get to the open pocket on the floor. He’s gotten much stronger over the years, and he’s athletic enough to finish at the rim. He’s got really good body control. Trying to convert to a point guard. I think he’s a scoring guard who can play the point in some possessions and some situations. But his best attribute is to take the basketball and create possessions for himself. He can certainly shoot it off screens or beat you off the bounce. He scores in different ways, and he’s got a high level of confidence. And he’s pretty battle-tested playing USA Basketball, AAU ball and (being) a four-time state champion.”