Malik Newman Won't Sign an NLI, Weighing 6 Schools | 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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Friday / June 21.
  • Malik Newman Won’t Sign an NLI, Weighing 6 Schools

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    Malik Newman actionNEW YORK –In what may be a growing trend among elite college basketball prospects, Malik Newman doesn’t plan on signing a National Letter of Intent after he picks his college.

    “No, I don’t plan on signing one,” the 6-foot-4 guard from Jackson (MS) Callaway told Wednesday morning at the Jordan Brand Classic practice. “I just feel like it’s not really a need to sign one, so I don’t want to stress myself about signing.”

    Stephen Zimmerman, the 7-footer from Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman, has also said he won’t sign an NLI, and Cal-bound big man Ivan Rabb has yet to sign his NLI as well.

    Wednesday is the first day of the NCAA late signing period, but Newman, who is considering six schools, has no timetable on making a decision.

    “Whenever it feels right,” he said.

    Newman is considering Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Kansas, LSU and N.C. State — and won’t take any official visits.

    “I just figured that if I was to take a visit, I wouldn’t be able to go see all the schools that I wanted to see,” Newman said. “So I just said that I wasn’t going to do it. Right now, the things that I’m looking for from a campus prospect is just seeing what the players are saying, what the coach is saying, and just going off what I read off the Internet.”

    Newman recently met with new Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland and is giving them a strong look.

    “I met him and he was straightforward with me about everything he planned on doing and things like that, and I respect him for that,” Newman said. “He’s a great guy so the relationship that me and him have, it’s good.”

    LSU is also in the mix and both LSU-bound Antonio Blakeney (who is here) and Ben Simmons (who is not) are recruiting Newman hard.

    “[They talk about] the things that we can do, how we can be the face of the SEC and the face of LSU and how we can just go there and contend for a national championship,” he said.

    How good could they all be together considering the 6-10 Simmons is the projected No. 3 pick in 2016 by and Newman is No. 4.

    “I think we can be phenomenal together with my scoring ability, Antonio’s scoring ability, with Ben’s versatility to play the 1 through 4, I think it will be something special to watch,” he said.

    Kentucky, meantime, just lost seven players to the NBA, including three guards in Andrew and Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker.

    “I think it did open up space but if it’s not the best situation for me then it’s something that I won’t force myself into,” he said.

    Three Kentucky commits — Isaiah Briscoe, Skal Labissiere and Charles Matthews — are here in New York and hoping Newman joined them.

    “Isaiah he do very little talking about, but he does talk about it every now and then,” Newman said. “Skal, he’s been on me since the Hoop Summit.”

    As for Kansas, “I have a great relationship with the coaching staff, with Coach Bill Self and coach [Jerrance] Howard. Those are really the only guys that I talk to from there.”

    At N.C. State, Newman has a strong bond with assistant coach Orlando Early as well as head coach Mark Gottfried. Both of them coached Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mo Williams at Alabama, and Williams and Newman are tight.

    “Mo, he just tells me that how coach likes to coach, how he play his guards,” Newman said. “Coach Gottfried and coach Early, they have done a great job of telling me the plan and the vision and recruiting me.”

    As for Ole Miss, they are the hometown school.

    “I credit Coach [Andy] Kennedy for the things that he do with his guards and how he always puts them on  a platform to be successful,” he said.

    Newman has been very busy in recent weeks, playing in the McDonald’s Game, the Hoop Summit and now the Jordan Classic, but he loves the game.

    “It’s been hectic but it’s been one of the most amazing times of my basketball career,” he said.

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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.

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