McDonald's: Q&A with Malik Newman

CHICAGO -- One of the best available guards in the 2015 class -- Malik Newman -- broke down the latest in his recruitment at the McDonald's All-American festivities.

You won your fourth straight state title, how was that experience?
It was great. It was something that I said I wanted to do at the beginning of my 9th grade a year and I ended up accomplishing it. It was an honor.

Did you play up to your expectations this year?
I think I did. With the team we had a lot of people counted us out, especially some of those national games we had. For us to go and perform the way we did and for me to perform the way that I did night in and night out, I think I got accomplished what I should have.

Are you excited about these next few weeks playing in the McDonald’s game, Hoop Summit and Jordan?
Of course. When you get a chance to play in games like that it’s a blessing. If you look in history of all the guys that played in them it’s probably nothing but Hall of Famers. It’s an exciting feeling.

Where do things stand recruiting wise?
It’s getting better. We are close to setting up some dates and things like that.

You met with Ben Howland recently. How was that?
It was great. He told me what his vision was for Mississippi State and what his vision was for me and what he planned on doing and how he planned on turning the program around.

Mississippi State has been recruiting you for a long time, but it was Rick Ray. Is it hard for you or does it affect you that there’s a new head coach in there?
It doesn’t really affect me. But it is kind of shaky in a way because he has to come in and a short amount of time and make up for what coach Ray is doing. The good part about it is coach [George] Brooks really recruited me a lot. So it wasn’t just Ray, it was also coach Brooks. I would hear from coach Brooks almost everyday. Since he’s still there I think everything will still be fine.

Has MSU talked to you about coming to campus?
They did. They did. I think that is a place that I would like to see because they have a great team, well I wouldn’t say a great team, but they have a team that every year it seems like they are getting better. I think there were a couple of thing with the staff.

Where does N.C. State stand in your recruitment?
They are in the ACC so in my opinion I think it’s one of the best conferences in all of college. They have a good team and they’ll be almost all sophomore and juniors next year. They’ll have a good team. They made it to the sweet 16. They made it that far. They’ve been through the wars. That’s a place I could come in and be myself and have pieces around me. I wouldn’t have to worry about double teams night in and night out.

What about Kansas, what sticks out about them?
I still like Kansas. I think they’ll be losing a couple of players this year. It’s the same with Kansas. Coach Self is a great coach. I think he’ll let me play. He’d help me on the defensive end and I’d have pieces around me. I think we could contend for a Final Four.

Kentucky has a couple of guards in the fold, how does that affect you and their recruitment of you?
It doesn’t really affect me a lot because those guys are guys I’m good friends with. I can play with them. I don’t’ think that will have any affect on me at all.

What’s the biggest draw to Kentucky for you?
They have a history of a lot of one and dones. I think they just do a great job playing together and I think coach Cal does a great job of managing egos and things like that.

What about LSU, they’ve been on you hard lately. What do you like about them?
Just the fact that they have Ben and Blakeney coming. Those guys really want me there. LSU kind of feels like home because it’s so close to my mom. It’s only like an hour and a half away. It just benefits a lot.

Ole Miss has been on you, what sticks out to you about them?
AK he’s really a guards coach. He lets his guards lay. He runs with them. When you have a coach like that you can’t overlook them. Plus I think they have a good team. They’ll only be losing two players next year and they’ll be gaining three. I think with the players they lose and players they are gaining, they’ll be the same team.

Would it be weird to go to Ole Miss, with your dad going to MSU?
I think it will. I don’t think I’d get a lot of heat behind it, but I think he’d get a lot of heat. But whatever is the best situation for me that’s what we are going to roll with.

Have you thought about a timetable on your decision?
I really haven’t. Actually me and my dad were laughing about it. I’m the only top player that hasn’t taken a visit or anything like that. We’re working on everhting right now. We are going to try and knock these visits out.

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