Back in December a 5th grader made national attention by starring on a high school varsity basketball team. Now that rising 6th grader is proving that the skills he put on display were no fluke; he’s doing the same thing against some of the nation’s best 9th and 10th graders.
Julian Newman is still 11 years old, and he’s still a member of the Orlando (Fl.) Downey Christian High basketball team. This is his first summer on the proper prep hoops summer circuit, and he’s largely stayed below the hype that tends to follow any media darlings at major national events.
However, he didn’t elude the cameras at the recent ScoutsFocus All-American Camp. Competing against a handful of the nation’s top 9th and 10th graders, Newman shone, handing out dimes just like he did against the Florida private school athletic competition he tore apart all winter.
In fact, Newman was watched by Rivals.com RecruitScoop writer Alex Kline and a handful of other national recruiting writers, and none of them batted an eye at watching a soon-to-be 6th grader battle against athletes that seemed to be twice the size of the 4-foot-7 point man.
Newman’s performance was notable because it essentially validates what everyone saw on highlight reels this winter: He’s a serious player. At the ScoutsFocus event, Newman matched up against the likes of 13-year-old fellow phenom Damon Harge and Sacha Killeya-Jones, among the top recruits in the Class of 2016.
This is no longer a Jason Kidd mini-me scoring and dropping assists against limited teams on a small circuit in Florida (though, to be fair, it was never really at that level anyway, and critics who painted Newman’s accomplishments as such were giving him a fair shake). Rather, this is an 11-year-old who is holding his own and even standing out against some of the best 15- and 16-year-olds in the country.
It’s flat-out crazy.
Given that Newman has already received ink from the New York Times and just about every TV outlet in the country, it’s hard to know where the media takes the prodigy from here. One thing is certain: He’s not going away.
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