You don’t have to be an experienced scout to recognize two fundamental truths about Brendan Newton’s game: 1) He’s nowhere near as good as he will be; and 2) He’s getting there.
Newton still lumbers a little from end to end and needs to gain at least 30 pounds for college, but by no means is he ineffective. He proved time and again at last weekend’s VA Top 80 that he already is willing to bang and rumble with older, more physically mature opponents.
He also has improved his offense. Newton was in a very rudimentary place when I watched him for the first time, last fall, and since then he has gained some new moves. He can make a short jump shot and comfortably utilizes the backboard. He also hits some hooks around the bucket. And at his height, obviously, he projects to make a defensive impact as well.
Playing in a smaller league, he has had to play a big role for Roanoke (Va.) Faith Christian.
”I had to lead the offensive attack for our team,” Newton said. “We were very young and our team won our region.”
Newton understands that he’s a work in progress but also is encouraged by his own improvement. He’s using the various camps and tournaments to assess the state of his game.
”I’m just enjoying it and I’m gauging where I am right now,” Newton said.
He’ll tour the travel circuit with Elite Level Hoops, which will attend various events spanning the East Coast.
He’s also beginning to field college interest, with Liberty extending a scholarship offer several months ago.
It’s difficult to know when we’ll encounter Newton next, but here’s betting that he’ll continue to improve between now and then.