Malik Newman Excited About Possibly Seeing Drake at Kentucky's Big Blue Madness | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / January 28.
  • Malik Newman Excited About Possibly Seeing Drake at Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness

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    Malik Newman, one of the most sought after guards in the Class of 2015, met this week with Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’s Bill Self and N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried.

    But the game-changer for Newman may be that Calipari is the only one who can deliver rapper Drake to his Midnight Madness. Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness is set for Oct. 17 — the weekend after Calipari will host a groundbreaking two-day NBA combine for a team loaded with nine McDonald’s All-Americans.

    “[Calipari] said Drake might come this year,” Newman told the Clarion-Ledger. “That would be a really good event to go to. It really lets me know what they’re working with and that [Kentucky] has a lot of connections.”

    (Presumably Drake won’t use the Big Blue Madness event to impersonate Alex Rodriguez or weed advocate Katt Williams, as he did on this episode of ‘SNL.’)

    So in addition to using the combine as a brilliant recruiting pitch to prospects, Calipari can also offer up the fact that he’s friends with Drake and Jay-Z, two of the era’s most popular rappers.

    As our man Rob Dauster wrote a couple years back in SI.com, “Calipari’s strength is not his ability as an in-game strategist. It’s his ability to connect with kids and attract them to his campus. He understands what these kids want, and he’s not afraid to build and promote his program around that. He does things that impress 18 year olds that some of his coaching competition wouldn’t even think of doing or have the connections and moxie to pull off.”

    The 6-foot-4 Newman had good things to say about Kansas and N.C. State in the Clarion-Ledger interview, but it’s clear he thinks Kentucky is a different animal because of their track record of landing blockbuster recruiting classes and sending guys to the NBA.

    “That’s the difference between going there and going to another school,” Newman said of Kentucky. “You would have more of the top-10 guys around you. I think less is more at Kentucky.”

    Newman was the MVP of the FIBA U17 World Championships in August is projected as the No. 5 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.

    Kentucky has just one commit for 2015 in guard Charles Matthews, but Calipari has been busy making the rounds to see other targets including Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Ivan Rabb, Henry Ellenson, Isaiah Briscoe and Cheick Diallo.



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.