Jeff Newberry should be about to complete his college basketball career, but after an odyssey that finds him at his fifth school in five years, his recruitment has started all over again. LSU is heavily recruiting the junior college point guard that some analysts believe will be a top-5 prospect for 2014.
Newberry graduated from Westlake High School in Atlanta in 2010 after a stellar career, where he was a renowned dunker and a finalist in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's dunk contest, despite being just 6-foot-2. He then went to prep school at Mack Prep in Charlotte for a year and then signed with Ole Miss. He redshirted his freshman year at Ole Miss for the 2011-12 season, and then spent this past season at Northeast Oklahoma Junior College, where he averaged team highs of 15 points and 4 assists.
He recently transferred to New Mexico Junior College where, despite being out of high school for three years, he will only be a sophomore.
"I just wanted to play in a better conference," Newberry told TSD, regarding his latest transfer. "It's supposed to be the best conference, and I just wanted tougher competition."
Newberry's main recruiter at LSU was Robert Kirby, who left this week to take a similar position at Memphis. Newberry said that LSU assistant David Patrick has taken over his recruitment. Will this change have a negative effect?
"I'm not sure right now," Newberry said. "We'll have to see. I did have a good relationship with Coach Kirby."
In addition to LSU, Newberry is also considering Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Baylor. He said he is hearing from new schools frequently, so his list could expand. He recently took an official visit to West Virginia, but doesn't have any other visits scheduled.
"I would rather take my visits when school is in session, so I can get a campus feel," he said.
While he doesn't have a visit to LSU scheduled, he said a visit to Baton Rouge is very possible.
"Coach (Johnny) Jones hasn't been there long, but he's doing a good job," Newberry said. "LSU is a great place. Everybody knows that. They have a great campus. I think a visit will be great."
Newberry is being advised in his recruitment by Patrice Days, an assistant coach at Arlington (Fl.) Country Day, who previously coach Newberry at Mack Prep. Days was previously a graduate assistant coach at New Orleans and Charlotte.
"Jeff has trusted me throughout the years and we've kept in touch," Days said. "I know Coach Jones and am very familiar with his program. I coached at New Orleans, so I know a lot of LSU coaches and players."
In fact, Days was recently at LSU, where he accompanied Country Day guard Ilker Er on a visit to Baton Rouge. Er is a potential LSU commitment, pending an ACT exam on June 8.
On the court, Newberry said he has come a long way while bouncing around to different programs.
"This year in junior college gave me a lot of confidence and I evolved into a true point guard," he said. "I consider myself a true point guard. I try to create for the other guys, but I have the ability to score as well."
He said he is targeting a possible September commitment.
LSU in the mix for Newberry
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