The Newman Show

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. --- It's common for players to get off to a slow start at the Peach Jam, especially when their first game is an early-morning tip-off. Malik Newman is not one of those players.

Newman put his overmatched Jackson Tigers team on his back and kept making plays. During one stretch early in the second half, he hit three consecutive three-pointers -- including one over the outstretched arms of UNC commitment Justin Jackson -- to cut the Tigers' deficit to four points, but they'd get no closer than that.

By the time the buzzer sounded, Newman had 40 points.

"I was just trying to do anything I could for our team to win, but unfortunately we came up short so the 40 really doesn't matter," the 6-3, 174-pound rising junior from Jackson (Miss.) Callaway said when reporters swarmed him postgame.

It was by no means an efficient performance, on 12-for-28 shooting, but there were plenty of spectacular plays courtesy of his explosive drives to the rim and body control when he got there. The assertiveness and willingness to draw contact earned him 16 free throw attempts.

College coaches -- Roy Williams included - lined the sidelines to see the Class of 2015's top-rated scoring guard.

"I'm not sure if they're watching me or watching someone else," Newman said when asked about his coaching audience in the event opener. "I just try and show them that I can play."

While they were undoubtedly watching him, Newman repeatedly noted that he doesn't watch them. Specifically, he's not an avid college basketball viewer.

"I don't watch basketball like that, but every so often I'll click on ESPN..." he said.

Regardless, he's going to need to check out some programs in person if he hopes to progress with his recruitment. His list of interested suitors, and offers, appeared too long to name. As for visits he wants to take?

"I'd like to visit Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina ... I'd like to visit all of them if I could," he said.

UNC has made it clear it wants to be in the mix, as Roy Williams has had multiple conversations with Newman and his father since college coaches could begin calling class of 2015 prospects a month ago.

Newman said the mutual interest with UNC is "very high."

"Me and Coach Roy, we talk a lot and he's always checking in on me, so it's going very well with them," he said.

Having secured point guards in the three consecutive classes before Newman's, the Tar Heels are aiming to land more of a combo in the 2015 class.

"A lot of (coaches) say I'll play the one (for them), but I think I'll play both - the '1' and the '2."

One situation to watch on the recruiting front is the relationship Newman has developed with one of the class of 2015's top centers, Diamond Stone. The duo were teammates with the USA Basketball 16U Team.

"Me and Diamond, we may link up on the college level," Newman said. "He's a solid big, he does what a big is supposed to do. He's a great teammate and person to be around."

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