Cityscape: Jackson

As one would have guessed and certainly could have surmised from my Cityscape series thus far, most of America's most bountiful cities for hoops talent are its largest.

Pound for pound, inch for inch, however, few cities produce more star talent than Jackson, Miss. Yes, Jackson is so small that it doesn't carry a standalone dateline.

Jackson ranks No. 92 in metropolitan size with a 2010 population of about 567,000 people. That's just a fraction of New York's 19.6 million, and Jackson ranks behind locales such as these: Des Moines, Iowa; Ogden, Utah; Colorado Springs, Colo; Allentown, Pa.; and Oxnard, Calif.

But it's Jackson that claims the No. 2 prospect in the junior class, Malik Newman. The high-scoring guard dominated at times on the EYBL circuit last season and may have played his best ball in Las Vegas last July. He's the son of another quasi-Jackson area product, Horatio Webster, who enjoyed a strong career at Mississippi State.

And Newman is better than his old man, possibly by a lot. He averaged 29 points per game this season and will challenge No. 1 Ivan Rabb for the top ranking in the class. Ranking notwithstanding, he'll continue to be a featured attraction on the grassroots trail due to his scoring proclivities and explosive style.

But even if he does earn the alpha position in the junior class, Newman hardly will be a trailblazer in Jackson. Over the years the city has nurtured the high school talents of players such as Monta Ellis, Mo Williams, Othella Harrington, James Robinson, Lindsey Hunter and Justin Reed.

The depth of talent doesn't exist there as it does in larger population centers, but some really good guys have called Jackson home.

Newman isn't the only prospect to monitor, either. No. 28 sophomore Mario Kegler teams with him for Callaway High School, which over the weekend captured its third consecutive Class 5A state championship. Although he transferred to prep school in New Jersey, Malcolm Evans warrants mention as well along with Jerekius Davis.

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