Malik Newman has all of the offers that you expect of a five-star basketball recruit: Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Connecticut, Louisville and others. However, the visit that he made this weekend to a school that is certainly not a basketball power made a big impact on him. Newman was at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for Ole Miss football's upset of Alabama on Saturday. He caught up with The Clarion-Ledger to discuss his experience.
"I picked the right time to visit Ole Miss," Newman said. "I had a good time. The atmosphere was great."
Newman added: "Right now, Ole Miss stands a good chance. I really like them. I just need to take my time and see what happens."
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Head coach Andy Kennedy compared Newman to Ole Miss football player Robert Nkemdiche, who was the top recruit in his class, and was a key get for Hugh Freeze in the rebuilding of that program.
"Coach Kennedy was telling about me how the football team was having success but how getting guys like (Robert) Nkemdiche helped them to get over the top," Newman said. "He thinks I can do that for the basketball team."
Nkemdiche was one of the prospects that brought Ole Miss football into the national conversation in the spring of 2013. Newman could be the piece that does the same for the men's basketball program.
"I have to take it for what it's worth," Newman said. "It's not like (Kennedy) was lying about what he was saying, I just really have to weigh out my options."
Spurning Kentucky and Kansas for a school like Ole Miss would be a very bold move for a player of Newman's caliber, but it may be hard to turn down an environment like he saw at the game against Alabama.