Newberry raves about LSU visit

New Mexico Junior College point guard Jeff Newberry was in Baton Rouge this weekend for an official visit to LSU. TSD's Ben Love has the latest from Newberry, including his impressions on the program, the upcoming 2013-14 team and when he'll make his decision.

LSU received an official visit this weekend from New Mexico Junior College point guard Jeff Newberry, one of the top JuCo prospects in the country for 2014.

Newberry, who picked up an offer from the Tigers in late July, told TSD he enjoyed all the different portions of his stay – from talking with the coaches to playing pick-up with the team to taking in the football team's 56-17 win over UAB inside Tiger Stadium.

"It was just really good," Newberry said, summarizing his time in Baton Rouge. "I love the environment, how the great the fans are, and I feel like I could fit in well there. I enjoyed playing with the team and stuff like that. They've got a really good team coming up this year, a lot of good guys and good young guys. So if I were to come here, it would be a great team to come in and play with those guys. I just loved it overall. It was a great visit."

One of the things Newberry, who originally signed and then redshirted with Ole Miss during the 2011-12 season, appreciated most about the LSU staff is their candor.

"They were just honest, because I've played for an SEC school in the past at the University of Mississippi, but the coaches here were real honest," explained Newberry. "They'll sit down and tell you a lot of stuff, but they're very real about it. I've been through the recruiting process already, so I can pretty much tell which coaches are telling the truth about certain stuff and which are not. I just felt like the coaches were real honest with me, the players were real honest with me, and it's just a good overall program trying to come up."

His lead recruiter at LSU is first-year Tiger assistant Korey McCray, who spent the last two seasons working under Ben Howland at UCLA. Oddly enough, despite the fact that Newberry is from Atlanta and McCray ran a notable AAU program there, the two had never met.

That changed this weekend.

"I knew of Coach McCray. He and I actually just met face-to-face this weekend, but we talked a whole bunch in the past," Newberry continued. "It just felt like I knew him already. He's the guy recruiting me and the guy I feel the most comfortable with on the staff. So he's definitely the leader in recruiting me."

With a very positive review of his trip from so many angles, Newberry conceded he'd fit in very well at LSU, especially on the court.

"I could (fit in) because all the guys are great," said Newberry. "Just from playing pick-up, they know what I would bring to the team and bring to the table. A lot of them want me to come, and they were wanting me to commit last night. They just saw what I could bring to the team. I play up-and-down, and they play up-and-down. So it's fun out there together, but it's disciplined at the same time. I think it's a pretty good fit, but we'll just have to see in the future where it goes."

Ultimately, even though he felt the temptation, Newberry said he just couldn't quite pull the trigger.

"Just in the past, seeing what happens when you commit right off the bat when everything looks good, I just know that I have to evaluate all of my options and fully weigh everything and critique every program to a ‘T.'

"I really did want to commit yesterday and also this morning, but I know that wouldn't be the right thing to do. I've got to evaluate everything to fully make that decision."

The next steps toward Newberry finalizing his decision are more official visits. He's already taken one to West Virginia, and now LSU, but Newberry has two more lined up and a third (likely to Texas A&M, who handed down an offer last week) is a real possibility.

"I'm visiting the University of Memphis this upcoming weekend, September 13-15," said Newberry. "Then I'm visiting Oklahoma State October 18-20. And I still have one more official left to choose from."

As for his timeframe on a commitment, expect Newberry to announce in the early signing period in November.

"It's probably either going to be the day before signing day or on signing day in the early period, somewhere in that area," Newberry explained. "I'm not going to rush my decision. I'm just going to take all my visits, weigh all my options out, see what everybody has to offer and go from there."

Read Newberry's take on LSU players after his pickup experience


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