Stone talks package deal with Newman

THE WOODLANDS, Tex. -- Diamond Stone, the top performer at the Under Armour Invitational this past weekend, was a dominant force on the court averaging over 20 points a game. Stone also made news when he told that he and Malik Newman will go to the same school for college.

The biggest news to surface from the Under Armour Invitational came from Diamond Stone not only on the court, but also off of it.

On the court Stone, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound center, dominated on both ends. Offensively, he scored with his back to the basket, off face up drives and by hitting mid and long-range jump shots.

On defense, Stone was just as dominant. In the past, he hasn't necessarily been a standout on that end of the floor, but he competed and got his hands on a ton of shots in the two games I watched at the UA Invitational.

Stone said he's been working hard since the end of his high school season, not only on his game, but also his conditioning.

"Just hard work," Stone responded when asked what led to his improvement. "During the school season I was just taking every practice seriously. After school I've been training with my dad and my strength and conditioning coach."

"I'm rebounding," he added. "I'm blocking shots, passing, getting assists, scoring from the low post and off three-pointers."

Off the court, Stone informed of some significant news in regards to his recruitment.

"Me and Malik (Newman) are going to the same school," Stone said. "We are still trying to figure out what school we are going to."

When pressed if it wasn't definitely a package deal, Stone responded definitively.

"Yes," he said.

"We have like a brother-like relationship," Stone added. "We talk every night with face time and phone calls. We are just there for each other."

Stone scored 27 points twice at the UA Invitational
2014 recruits Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones were a package deal. The two went through the recruiting process and took visits together. In the end, they both settled on Duke. Is Stone and Newman's relationship similar to Jones and Okafor?

"A little bit stronger," Stone said with a laugh.

Stone said he and Newman first met at middle school camp and got close through their time at USA Basketball.

"We were at John Lucas Camp in 8th grade," Stone said. "We didn't really talk but we were on the same team. Then when we went out to USA Colorado and he asked to room with me. Then we just started bonding. Me, him and Ivan [Rabb]."

While Stone,'s No. 3 player, has offers from a host of high major schools, he didn't list any on Saturday.

"I haven't cut my list down," Stone said. "I did have a couple of home visits."

Stone did mention that he hosted Illinois, Duke, Oklahoma State and Connecticut for in-home visits. He broke down what he liked about each of the four.

Duke: "Coach K is a great coach. He's with USA so that's always good. He's a good coach. He's a legend. He gets guys to the NBA. He helps guys with a back up plan and makes them a better person and a better man."

Illinois: "It's a good school too. Coach [John] Groce is a great guy and funny. He gets guys to the next level. He's coached a lot of NBA guys like Greg Oden."

Connecticut: "UConn came in. [Kevin Ollie] is a great talker. He's great at everything. He's really emotional and that's what I like about him. He's not scared to show his emotional side and he's just a great person."

Oklahoma State: "It's a great school. It's a real good school and has a great campus. They are top 10 every year."

Stone said he hasn't taken any recent visits, but plans to take them with Newman.

"I know Malik is trying to go to Kansas around October so I don't know," Stone said.

Both Stone and Newman are rankings among the top three players in the 2015 class. Stone checks in at No. 3, while Newman is currently one spot above him at No. 2.

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