Malik Newman Interview
When you got to Mississippi State what were some things that you did and what were some of the things that you liked?
"I played with the players, then I sat down with the coaches and players and talked with them for awhile. They talked to me about the campus and how things are there. Every time I come on campus I feel welcome. That's a good thing."
You mentioned that you played with the Mississippi State players. Have you ever played against college players before? If not, what was it like?
"Actually it was my first time. And it was a good experience. All of the guys were athletic. It was good to see how I fit."
Had you played against Gavin Ware and Fred Thomas before? Both of them are like you, Mississippi kids. If so, have they changed much since you played against them?
"Yes sir, they have changed a lot."
What was it like playing on the same team as Craig Sword during the pickup game?
"It was good. He's kind of the same type player as me but he's way more athletic than me. He kind of made my job a little easier."
You mentioned that you got to sit down and talk to the coaches. Did you get to talk to Coach Ray? If so, what was your impression of him?
"Yes sir. I always have a good impression of him. I think he is doing a great job with that program as far as rebuilding it. I think this year they should be better. He talked to me about how he likes his guards to play and the kind of system he has."
Now that you visited Mississippi State and got to play with their current players and had the chance to sit down and talk to Coach Ray one-on-one, how does that affect your feelings about Mississippi State?
"It kind of improved because I see the potential in those guys and see the kind of players they are right now and how they are developing. If I go there, they would be the guys who would still be there when I got there."
Horatio Webster Interview
When did you and Malik get to Mississippi State and when did you leave?
"We got there around 11 o'clock and stayed until the three quarter of the (football) game."
Before the football game, what did you two do?
"We went to the basketball facility and played pickup ball with the guys."
As a former basketball player, what were your impressions of the Mississippi State players?
"I think the guys who were there as freshmen (last season) have gotten better. That lets you know that Coach Ray and his staff are doing a great job. You look at Gavin (Ware), Chicken (Craig Sword) and Fred (Thomas), mainly those three guys, they are different players than they were even last year. He is doing something right up there"
What did you specially like about them?
"They looked good. Fred needed to add some weight last year. This year his body looks good. Gavin has lost weight and trimmed down. He's more explosive. He ran the floor better. Chicken looks more like a grown man now, which is good.
"I don't know if this is good or bad but Malik was able to go in and play against those guys and not skip a beat. I don't know how to take that."
I'm going to turn your answer into a question. You mentioned that you didn't know if your son playing so well against college players was a good thing or bad thing when it comes to how good they are. Is it possible Malik is simply that great of a player, maybe even greater than you realize? Remember, he is considered the number 1 player in the nation in his classification.
"That very well could be because some of those guys are good players. Some of them are All-SEC caliber players. They made the All-SEC Freshman team. You may be right. I have to give credit to Malik. I don't want to take anything away from those guys. I was anxious to see him play against SEC caliber players and see how he did. I wasn't worried about his body. I wanted to see if he could get any shot that he wanted to take, and do this or that. And he did."
Who did he actually go up against during the pickup game?
"He and Chicken played on the same team. I thought they would go against each other. He went at it against Fred and the kid from Arkansas (I.J. Ready)."
Did you notice a couple of other guys, true freshmen Fallou Ndoye and I.J. Ready? If so, what were your impressions of them?
"I don't really know who the other guys are but he did play against the big kid (Ndoye). He's got some potential. I think it will be interesting to see what happens this year as far as how their season turns out."
Now that you have seen the Mississippi State players in action how has that affected MSU's chances with Malik, recruiting-wise?
"I think it helped because Malik enjoyed himself. But that won't be my shot to call as to whether it helped or hurt their chances. But I think Malik he had a good time. So, I think the overall experience helped them."
I know, based on talking to you in the past, you want to know there are good players surrounding Malik wherever he goes to college. And it sounds like you believe Mississippi State has those kind of players.
"Yes it does. It shows you that the Mississippi State staff is doing a good job because those guys aren't the same players they were last year. That is a good sign because it shows me that somebody is doing something right."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.