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.
Recruiting Roundup: Malik Newman’s Dad Talks Kentucky, Target Date for Announcement; Kyle Alexander Planning Visits; UConn Interested In Carter, Ellison; Cowan to Maryland
Malik Newman’s father says he’s impressed with how Kentucky’s John Calipari has coached this year’s team and that he’s close with Wildcats assistant Kenny Payne.
He also said his son likely won’t commit until at least late April.
Horatio Webster made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with Sunday Morning Sports Talk on 630 WLAP out of Lexington, Ky.
“It’s special what Coach Cal is doing down there because [to keep] almost a McDonald’s All-American together and all of them jell as one, that takes a special coach to do that,” Webster said. “In order to keep everybody happy and keep a smile on everybody’s face. That team could’ve went any way, it could’ve been a disaster or it could turn out like it is now. And you have to give Coach Cal and his staff all the credit for that. I don’t know how he did it, I don’t know how he do it, but that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.”
Webster, who played at Mississippi State, also said he’s tight with Payne.
“Oh man, [I know him] too well,” he said. “We have a great relationship. He’s one of the most honest and nicest guys…He’s just going to tell you how it is. I don’t think he’s ever lied to me. I haven’t caught him in a lie yet. But KP is a great guy. I call him anytime, he pick up. He can call me anytime, I pick up…He’s a Mississippi guy, I’m a Mississippi guy. We just talk. KP is a great guy. I consider him as a friend.”
The 6-foot-4 Newman is considering Kentucky, Kansas, N.C. State, Ole Miss and others, and visited Ole Miss this past weekend instead of Ohio State. Newman said in his recent USA Today blog he plans to visit Kentucky, Kansas and N.C. State.
“I’m not going to say he has a list because he doesn’t have a list,” Webster said.
“He probably could close his eyes and pick one, all of them are great programs.”
Webster, who played at Mississippi State, called his son a “special player.”
“He lives for the big moments, he lives for the big crowds,” he said. “He’s a special kid that works on his craft every single day of his life…There’s nothing that he can’t do on offense. I know that he can play defense a little better.”
Webster says he has “no idea” where his son might land.
“No idea” Webster said. “I was talking to him two nights ago and I said, ‘Malik, April is approaching really fast, so you need to be doing something and he just looked at me and smiled and said, ‘OK.’
“I can’t get anything out of him.”
As for a timetable on an announcement, don’t expect one anytime soon.
Webster says his son won’t announce until the spring signing period, which runs April 15-May 20.
“I think it’s a smart decision to sit and wait and see who’s coming and who’s going,” Webster said. “But at the same time he needs to be making some trails towards somebody you know so that’s all I’m saying.”
KYLE ALEXANDER PLANNING VISITSKyle Alexander, a 6-foot-10 2015 forward from Orangeville Prep in Ontario, will visit St. Bonaventure this weekend and Pittsburgh Feb. 13-14, his father, Joseph Alexander, told SNY.tv.
He’s also hearing from Texas, Wake Forest, Rhode Island, Old Dominion, Rice, UCSB, Arkansas, Duke and others.
“Quite a few schools are interested in Kyle,” he said.
Alexander, who plays alongside Thon Maker and Jamal Murray, is currently out with a fractured wrist he suffered last month.
“He’s 6-10 with a 7-4 wingspan,” Orangeville Prep coach Larry Blunt previously told SNY.tv. “He runs faster than our guards and has a knack for blocking shots. His dad was a Division 1 1,000-point scorer and his sister was an All-American at Syracuse and a first-round draft pick in the WNBA. The kid has been playing basketball for three years and his potential is scary.”
UCONN’S OLLIE TO WATCH TRACI CARTER, MALIK ELLISON
Upon head coach Kevin Ollie remains interested in uncommitted 2015 Burlington (N.J.) Life Center point guard Traci Carter and wing Malik Ellison but won’t make their game Friday at Our Savior New American, Life Center coach Pervis Ellison told SNY.tv.
N.C. State, UMass, Seton Hall, Xavier and Marquette have also reached out for Carter, who went for 20 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds in an 81-59 win over National Christian (Md.) this weekend.
COWAN TO MARYLANDAnthony Cowan, a 6-foot 2016 point guard from St. John’s (D.C.) committed to Maryland.
“I just didn’t want to be anywhere else,” he told SNY.tv. “I love everything about Maryland.”
Cowan is the No. 43-ranked point guard in the Class of 2016, per 247Sports.com. He’s averaging 19 points and 5 assists, while shooting 44 percent from the field.
“He can do anything you need: score by either getting to the rim or shooting,” Sean McAloon, Cowan’s coach at St. John’s, told SNY.tv. “He gets to the line at a great rate. He passes very well. He’s just a complete player.”
“I will be someone who can do anything the coach asks,” Cowan said. “I can score, et my teammates open shot and lock up on defense.”
He is Maryland’s first commit for 2016.
Photo: Kelly Kline / Under Armour
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.