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Wave&Dawgs
07-02-2016, 05:00 PM
Really good article here. Sheds a lot of light on the issues that made the Newman/MSU marriage fail.


In his one and only season at Mississippi State, Malik Newman never really carried the confidence one would expect from a top-10 prospect out of high school.

After announcing his decision Friday to transfer to Kansas following a rocky freshman campaign with the Bulldogs, Newman enters a mandatory redshirt season in Lawrence in search of his shot and the mojo that made him the nation’s top shooting guard coming out of Callaway High School in Jackson, Miss.

But what went wrong for Newman in Starkville? According to Mike Bonner, MSU beat reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, the issue is complicated — but that lack of confidence is a good starting point.

“Really, you never saw him just go out and play basketball. You never saw him smile,” Bonner told The Topeka Capital-Journal. “You never saw him just really enjoy the game. It always seemed like work — it seemed like pulling teeth, and his father told me that too.”

Newman averaged 11.3 points and 2.2 assists, shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from 3-point range. It was a season marred with injuries, miscommunication and, according to Newman’s father and former MSU player Horatio Webster, a lack of trust between his son and coach Ben Howland with origins in the 6-foot-3 Newman’s miscasting as a 3-guard.

Bonner said Newman’s struggles were a combination of all of those factors and more, including sky-high expectations from fans in his home state that he realistically was never going to live up to.

“People were comparing him to LeBron James, and that’s clearly unfair to Malik Newman,” Bonner said. “At no point in the recruitment was he ever pegged to be LeBron James, but people saw him win four state titles here, they saw his number retired as a high school senior while he still played here, and those expectations grew to astronomical proportions.”

Newman’s pressure to succeed was, in Bonner’s opinion, greater than that of even Ben Simmons, who was in a similar situation as a top-ranked prospect who chose a dormant SEC program (LSU) over a traditional blue blood. For what it’s worth, Webster told Bonner his son’s hand was “on the knob to turn the door” to join KU last spring before MSU hired Howland and sealed the deal.

After making close to 90 percent of his free throws throughout his high school career, Newman’s percentage tumbled to 68.7 last year, a number that fell as the season progressed. While a nagging back injury may have played a role in that, Bonner said the poor shooting at the line was a sign of problems that ran deeper than simple talent issues.

“He just didn’t have any confidence at the end of the season, whether it was because of the injuries or because he started to struggle,” Bonner said. “I think the year off will allow him to get away from all the pressure, all the noise in Mississippi — including his camp — and just go out and play basketball and focus on getting better, getting stronger and more mentally tough.”

One of the knocks on Newman that his father said he saw most often was that he didn’t compete at a high level, but Bonner never witnessed that firsthand. The biggest problem, Bonner contends, is that it was just a poor fit — one of MSU’s few strengths at the time of Newman’s commitments was its guards, and that forced the freshman into a 3-guard position that never really clicked.

Bonner said Newman made a great decision by returning to the college level and said with the way this year’s NBA Draft played out — a record 26 international players were selected — he may not have been selected at all. As for how MSU fans will remember Newman, the jury appears to still be out, with a lot riding on how his stint at KU — and potential NBA future — play out.

Bonner said the situation could play out similar to that of another one-year Bulldog in Rodney Hood, who transferred to Duke after his freshman season, sat out a year, then went on to be a first-round draft pick following a much better sophomore effort for the Blue Devils.

“I know a lot of (MSU) fans don’t like talking about Rodney Hood,” Bonner said. “They get very upset at his name and at best just like to forget about him. I think if Malik Newman does the same thing as Rodney Hood and has a successful career at Kansas and the NBA, there may be a little bitterness toward him because he was supposed to be the second coming, saving grace that put Mississippi State on the map. And in one year he was outshined by another freshman (Quinndary Weatherspoon) and decided to leave the program.”

Newman’s first season on the court for KU won’t come until 2017-18, when senior guard Frank Mason is no longer with the program. The door appears to be open for Newman to play a position that comes more natural as a then-sophomore.

“I think you saw signs that he was talented,” Bonner said. “There was a reason he was the best shooting guard in the country coming out of high school. It just didn’t work out at Mississippi State, but I think a year off will help him regain his confidence and he’ll play with that confidence, which we didn’t really see at Mississippi State.

“I think this year and the following year where he gets to sit out is going to define him, whether he turns it around and uses that as motivation and rises from the low of his career, or does he turn and say, ‘It wasn’t for me,’ and just give up?”



http://cjonline.com/blog-post/matt-galloway/2016-07-02/what-went-wrong-new-ku-guard-malik-newman-msu

kentubbybasketball
07-02-2016, 05:11 PM
All I can say is thank Malik Newman for not coming to UK. We wouldn't have gotten Jamal Murray, last year's best freshmen in the SEC in my opinion. Things worked out for Newman and UK seemingly.

As for MSU, if I'm a big time recruit, I'm not going there. Howland hasn't changed from UCLA. He's not an elite player's coach at all. Kevin Love is the only one that benefited from it in a one and done sense. Howland works better with 4 star type guards, which he signed plenty of this class in Carter, Wright, and Peters.

Wave&Dawgs
07-02-2016, 07:40 PM
All I can say is thank Malik Newman for not coming to UK. We wouldn't have gotten Jamal Murray, last year's best freshmen in the SEC in my opinion. Things worked out for Newman and UK seemingly.

As for MSU, if I'm a big time recruit, I'm not going there. Howland hasn't changed from UCLA. He's not an elite player's coach at all. Kevin Love is the only one that benefited from it in a one and done sense. Howland works better with 4 star type guards, which he signed plenty of this class in Carter, Wright, and Peters.

MSU has never really had success with the one and dones regardless of who our coach has been. Hood also left after a year and we didn't even get a crack at Monta Ellis or Travis Outlaw who went straight pro. All of our best players since MSU became relevant in the late 90s seem to have been 4 stars or less.

A 5 star guy who is looking to be a one and done and NBA star just probably isn't going to thrive in a place like Starkville where he will be expected to be the hero and be under the heaviest of scrutiny. The article went over that aspect of it pretty well.

Bulldawg28
07-02-2016, 08:06 PM
Seems like Malik couldn't handle the pressure.

kentubbybasketball
07-03-2016, 01:23 PM
Wave, I think it has more to do with Howland's principles. Look he's the second best coach in the SEC easily. However, he's too restrictive IMO. He isn't comfortable just letting go of the reigns he's too halfcourt, although his last UCLA team was somewhat quick. That's not the style top 10 guards wanna play. An elite big man would be fine at MSU but if I'm a guard no way.

kentubbybasketball
07-03-2016, 01:23 PM
Seems like Malik couldn't handle the pressure.

I doubt that because he's going to Kansas now. Talk about pressure.

Bulldawg28
07-03-2016, 08:24 PM
I doubt that because he's going to Kansas now. Talk about pressure.


He may mature there but he struggled being "the man" right out of high school.

kentubbybasketball
07-04-2016, 11:56 AM
Sure and didn't he win 4 high school titles in that state? Sure there was pressure, but if you're trying to avoid pressure you head to Western Kentucky not Kansas... the birthplace of college basketball where winning a conference title is a birthright and you play in the best arena at this level.

Bulldawg28
07-04-2016, 03:45 PM
Sure and didn't he win 4 high school titles in that state? Sure there was pressure, but if you're trying to avoid pressure you head to Western Kentucky not Kansas... the birthplace of college basketball where winning a conference title is a birthright and you play in the best arena at this level.

I didn't say he's trying to avoid pressure. I said he couldn't handle it.

kentubbybasketball
07-04-2016, 04:07 PM
That's semantics and splitting hairs. If he can't "handle" pressure I just don't see why he would choose to play for Bill Self at Kansas where he'll face.more (national) pressure than he would have at MSU. Sure ppl in the state may have put some pressure on him at MSU but you're out of the spotlight there outside of Mississippi. He's chosen to accept pressure and a microscope by being in the Kansas spotlight.

Bulldawg28
07-04-2016, 05:13 PM
That's semantics and splitting hairs. If he can't "handle" pressure I just don't see why he would choose to play for Bill Self at Kansas where he'll face.more (national) pressure than he would have at MSU. Sure ppl in the state may have put some pressure on him at MSU but you're out of the spotlight there outside of Mississippi. He's chosen to accept pressure and a microscope by being in the Kansas spotlight.

Agreed

kentubbybasketball
07-04-2016, 07:15 PM
Welcome to the board btw.

Wave&Dawgs
07-05-2016, 01:28 AM
Wave, I think it has more to do with Howland's principles. Look he's the second best coach in the SEC easily. However, he's too restrictive IMO. He isn't comfortable just letting go of the reigns he's too halfcourt, although his last UCLA team was somewhat quick. That's not the style top 10 guards wanna play. An elite big man would be fine at MSU but if I'm a guard no way.

In general, I kinda prefer having 3-4 star guys anyway because you actually get to keep them for more than a year and you have guys who might not make it in the NBA, but they turn into really good college players. Guys like Jamont Gordon, Charles Rhodes, Jarvis Varnado, etc. The one and done guys work if you are a team like Kentucky who can build super teams year after year, but as we saw with teams like MSU and LSU this year, it's harder when you just have one of them who all of the pressure in the world is on to carry the team.

NCMISSSTFAN
07-05-2016, 07:49 AM
I doubt that because he's going to Kansas now. Talk about pressure.

KT I agree here but I don't think that's the type of pressure that bothered Malik. Your right, he will be on a bigger basketball stage at Kansas and will be around more talent, but the pressure he got at MSU was that he was the 5 star, hometown kid who was supposed to be the next greatest thing and the saviour. He won 4 state titles in Mississippi and expectations for him were very high to continue to achieve lofty goals for himself and any team he played on. He even mentioned himself that he played nervous at times. I think the pressure he had was trying to make everyone happy being the hometown kid. At Kansas he's far away from home and now he can relax some and focus on basketball.

NCMISSSTFAN
07-05-2016, 07:54 AM
In general, I kinda prefer having 3-4 star guys anyway because you actually get to keep them for more than a year and you have guys who might not make it in the NBA, but they turn into really good college players. Guys like Jamont Gordon, Charles Rhodes, Jarvis Varnado, etc. The one and done guys work if you are a team like Kentucky who can build super teams year after year, but as we saw with teams like MSU and LSU this year, it's harder when you just have one of them who all of the pressure in the world is on to carry the team.

Agreed, don't get me wrong I'll take the 5 star players....but in a building sense I like the 4 star guys because they are usually good enough to play right away, but rarely try to leave after one year and develop into good players. A team like MSU is better suited to get classes like we just did. We aren't UK or Duke and won't be getting 5 star teams year in and out. But I really like the class we are bringing in.

kentubbybasketball
07-06-2016, 02:24 PM
KT I agree here but I don't think that's the type of pressure that bothered Malik. Your right, he will be on a bigger basketball stage at Kansas and will be around more talent, but the pressure he got at MSU was that he was the 5 star, hometown kid who was supposed to be the next greatest thing and the saviour. He won 4 state titles in Mississippi and expectations for him were very high to continue to achieve lofty goals for himself and any team he played on. He even mentioned himself that he played nervous at times. I think the pressure he had was trying to make everyone happy being the hometown kid. At Kansas he's far away from home and now he can relax some and focus on basketball.

Maybe but having 30 NBA scouts at every game at Kansas is going to be major pressure and unwilting.

kentubbybasketball
07-06-2016, 02:26 PM
Agreed, don't get me wrong I'll take the 5 star players....but in a building sense I like the 4 star guys because they are usually good enough to play right away, but rarely try to leave after one year and develop into good players. A team like MSU is better suited to get classes like we just did. We aren't UK or Duke and won't be getting 5 star teams year in and out. But I really like the class we are bringing in.

There's more than one way to win. Given the last six champs, you've got some freshman dominant teams and some like Villanova with experience.

NCMISSSTFAN
07-06-2016, 04:06 PM
Maybe but having 30 NBA scouts at every game at Kansas is going to be major pressure and unwilting.

Oh I agree 100%, he will have national pressure on him still. But that's a different pressure than having your Aunt, little cousin who looks up to you, Uncles, Mom, etc who all expect you to be the next Steph Curry and the savior of Mississippi at every game, texting you, calling you. He can have a little separation from that now.

NCMISSSTFAN
07-06-2016, 04:09 PM
There's more than one way to win. Given the last six champs, you've got some freshman dominant teams and some like Villanova with experience.

The Freshman dominant teams happen but Cal seems to be the only one making it happen consistently... We will see what Ben Howland does this year with our group of Freshman. Luckily we have Weatherspoon, Ready and Holman with some experience to add to what they bring.