Just a couple days after it was reported that he would ultimately choose Mississippi State, five-star guard Malik Newman made the news official Friday afternoon. While Newman is the third member of the Bulldogs’ 2015 recruiting class, joining Quinndary Weatherspoon and Joseph Struggs, he’s the biggest piece for new head coach Ben Howland.
Turning around a program that’s struggled isn’t an easy task, but landing a difference-maker on the recruiting trail certainly helps matters and that’s what Howland has managed to do in reeling in Newman.
“Malik Newman committing is a big local and national statement for Ben Howland at Mississippi State,” NBC Sports recruiting insider Scott Phillips said. “Howland lands a signature local recruit just weeks into his new job and he’s getting one of the best scorers in the Class of 2015. Newman makes plays with the ball in his hands and isn’t afraid to pull up and shoot from anywhere inside of 25 feet.
“He’s also improved his recognition of high ball screens as a play maker for others and he should be a major contributor from the moment he steps on campus.”
Newman, who won four state titles at Callaway HS in Jackson, Mississippi, will play at the same school as his father who played for the Bulldogs from 1996-98. Newman committing to Mississippi State is a huge boost in the publicity department for a program that has seen better days. The next task is to turn things around in the win column.
Newman was also considering Kansas and Kentucky before choosing the Bulldogs.