As we know by now, there is no need to worry about basketball recruiting while John Calipari is at Kentucky. Last Saturday was the first day that coaches could contact players from the 2015 class and the offers have been fast and furious. We knew about Skal Labissiere, Stephen Zimmerman, and Charles Matthews who had gotten offers, but now there is a fourth player.
Mississippi combo guard Malik Newman was the latest player to get an offer from Calipari. Evan Daniels talked with Ben Roberts about the new offers and gave us this information on Newman.
Newman, a Jackson, Miss., native, missed the Top 100 Camp so he could compete with the Team USA under-16 squad, which won a gold medal in Uruguay. The 6-3 guard was named the most valuable player at the event, a continuation of his recent stellar play.
“Malik Newman is a pretty accomplished scorer,” Daniels said. “I’ve been really impressed with him this spring. Not just as a guy who can make long-range shots, but he can really get you points from mid-range and he can shoot it at the rim.”
Newman — the son of former Mississippi State standout Horatio Webster — is ranked No. 9 overall by Scout.com, but he could be due for a bump.
“He’s really taken his game to another level in the spring,” Daniels said.
Duke, Kansas and Arizona are among the other schools that have recently offered Newman, who was already being recruited by the entire SEC.
Although many analysts have predicted that UK is at or near the top of his list, Newman didn’t seem too engaged with the recruiting process when he spoke to the Herald-Leader earlier this spring.
“I really feel that it’s too early,” he said in April. “It’s not like I’m going to college next year. So, right now, I’m just worrying about getting my team better and getting myself better.”
If you are placing odds on who will be the next 2015 player offered, Australian native Ben Simmons has a pretty good chance of getting the call. Calipari talked to him over the weekend, but no offer has been made yet.
Ben Simmons — an Australian native who is playing for Montverde Academy (Fla.) — tweeted Friday that he had a “good talk” with Calipari.
Simmons already has offers from Duke, Florida, Ohio State, Washington and LSU. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward is considered the No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2015 by ESPN. He’s also ranked highly by Rivals.com (5th), 24/7 Sports (5th) and Scout.com (10th).
Simmons moved to United States from Australia during the middle of last season and played the final few games for Montverde Academy alongside such players as UK freshman Dakari Johnson and Ohio State commitment D’Angelo Russell.
Montverde Coach Kevin Boyle talked to the Herald-Leader about Simmons earlier in the spring.
“Ben’s an extremely athletic kid,” Boyle said. “He’s approximately 6-8, 6-9. He actually shoots it a lot better than people realize. He came in and doesn’t know how good he is yet.
“He’s kind of like a point forward. He’s a real versatile player and I think he’s as good as anyone in the nation, in the world, at his age.”
We have spoken a lot about the upcoming NBA Draft and Nerlens Noel, but not so much on Archie Goodwin. Most draft pundits have Goodwin going in the 30-40 range of the draft, but there is still a chance he can slip into the first round. Don’t expect this to get Goodwin down and he is enjoying the whole experience thus far.
He likes showing what he is capable of doing,” Humphrey said. “Teams don’t say a lot. They kind of keep it between them and the player so not to tip their hand if they are considering picking him. But they are giving a lot of good feedback to his agent. I have not actually talked to teams myself. I just talk to him.”
Humphrey said Goodwin was just “ready to make a move” when he put his name into the draft instead of returning to UK for his sophomore season, even though UK coach John Calipari has indicated he felt Goodwin should have returned.
“He believes he can perform at that level (in the NBA). We talked and said, ‘Let’s follow your dream,’” Humphrey said. “Probably Kentucky fans have not had a chance to see the whole Archie. The times he went through at Kentucky and the criticism he took, we took that and learned from it. I guess you can say you take the bad and make a positive out of it. That’s what we did. Kentucky fans just need to continue to follow him and they will see the real Archie. They won’t be disappointed.”
Goodwin was the focal point of considerable criticism from Calipari and especially UK fans. However, after Nerlens Noel was injured, he also was often the focal point of opposing defenses.
“Most of his mistakes were from going too fast and being out of control,” one NBA scout, who cannot be named talking about specific players, said. “But you don’t mind that. You can teach a kid to slow down. It’s hard to get guys to go all-out who don’t play that way. He has to get his shot more consistent and work on his ballhandling, but you don’t question his effort.”