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May 12, 2013

Newman steps up game in EYBL


FRISCO, Texas -- In a gym filled with elite basketball prospects, nobody was more elite than class of 2015 scoring machine Malik Newman. While Newman was doing his best 2007 Ben Gordon impersonation, plenty of other players stepped up their games and Team Texas won a heated rivalry contest against the Texas Titans.

Newman is the day's top dog

On Saturday, the baddest dude on the block was class of 2015 five-star combo Newman. The No. 3 player in the class of 2015, Newman was unguardable during his two Saturday games. After hitting the Oakland Soldiers for 20 points, five rebounds and three assists during a morning win, Newman kicked it into overdrive against the Spiece Indy Heat.

Spiece ended up with the win, but it had to survive one heck of an effort from Newman. The 6-foot-4 guard hit 3-pointers, scored off drives and was tough on the glass as he went off for 36 points and eight rebounds.

Shy by nature, Newman leaves the questions about his game and recruitment to his father, Horatio Webster. According to Webster, his son is wide open and they've not gotten serious about the recruiting process. Webster said that basically the entire SEC would be on his list, while also mentioning Arizona, N.C. State, North Carolina and Michigan. There had been talk that Kentucky offered recently, but Webster said an offer has not been made.

Team Texas takes rivalry game

No game on Saturday drew as much of a crowd as the area grudge match between Team Texas Elite and the Texas Titans. Team Texas came back late and, as happened Friday night, Matthew McQuaid's shooting and all-around game had a lot to do with it getting the win.

A 6-foot-4 two guard from Duncanville (Texas) High, McQuaid is a knockdown shooter. He works hard off the ball to get open and doesn't need much time or space to get his shot off. Because of his shooting ability, defenders really have to crowd him. He's learned to attack the basket and is a wiry/bouncy player around the rim.

Boise State and San Francisco are his only offers, but others including Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are keeping close tabs. From an evaluation standpoint, McQuaid looks the part of a guy with four-star potential.

For the Titans, it was all about the play of sophomore post Tyler Davis. Standing around 6-foot-9, Davis is a 290-pound interior player who can hit defenders with punishing physicality. But he is actually more of a skill guy who has great hands, soft touch and nimble feet. Davis is a patient scorer with excellent footwork, and he was leading the Titans to a win before they inexplicably stopped going to him late.

He was good for 23 points and 13 rebounds, and he is starting to look like a player who will need rankings consideration in 2015. Davis has worked hard to get himself into shape. He says that SMU is his first offer, while Arizona, Tulsa and Kansas have been showing early interest. According to Davis, the Jayhawks are his dream program because of how Bill Self uses his big guys.

Final Saturday notes

There are guards out there who are quicker and jump higher than Jaquan Lyle. But few have more power or feel for the game than the five-star from the Indy Spiece Heat. Lyle can play on the ball or off the ball, and he is a natural playmaker who will also get a tough rebound when it is needed.

Newman put up some big numbers on Saturday, but you know what? He didn't outscore 2015 combo guard Allonzo Trier. The No. 22 player in the class of 2015, Trier scored 65 points over the course of two games for Athlete's First. He looks to be trending more toward shooting guard than point, but he can get you some buckets. Trier has range and is selective with his athleticism, causing defenders to forget he can get to the rim.

There was a lot of anticipation for a matchup between North Carolina-bound Joel Berry and undecided Tyus Jones. As it turned out, Berry's Each One Teach One squad put a beating on Jones and Howard Pulley. The first few minutes were competitive, but Each One Teach One's shooting was too much for Pulley.

In the point guard battle, Berry had a good outing and his team was far more successful. He dished out 11 assists and showed he is a point guard who can play with a physical edge. Duke-bound Grayson Allen had another great day shooting the ball, and D'Angelo Russell played well. Russell can score in flurries and gains confidence quickly as his jumper starts falling.

Another who showed promising spurts was Michael Gilmore. The 6-foot-8 post player is quick, bouncy off the floor and looks like he can shoot it a little bit. If he can be a pogo stick type around the rim who runs the floor and makes some shots, he could end up in the discussion for national rankings in 2014.

Five-star shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead is built to score. He's a rangy 6-foot-4 wing who can handle the ball and is stronger than you realize. Whitehead isn't a high flyer, but he is athletic and has the ability to take contact without losing speed. When he heats up from 3-point range, he's a load to handle.

A teammate of Whitehead's on the New Jersey Playaz, Isaiah Briscoe, is a class of 2015 five-star. Briscoe wasn't his usual self on Saturday. He lists offers from Syracuse, Baylor, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Miami, Cincinnati and Villanova.

2014 Rivals150 guard Elijah Cain said he has offers from Temple, Saint Joseph's, Robert Morris, Binghamton, Drexel, George Mason and Rider. Xavier and La Salle are monitoring him closely. He's got a crafty game and is steady across the board.

If somebody started a tough guy contest in the class of 2014, Stanley Johnson just might be the odds-on favorite to win it. The 6-foot-6 wing has power and skill, and he never lacks an aggressive attitude. He looks to be in pretty good shape, and he is constantly improving his all-around game. One area that has troubled him is his free throw shooting. A guy who gets to the line as often as Johnson does is leaving a lot of points on the table if he doesn't get better there.

* Team Takeover is balanced and deep. Each game, somebody different is likely to step up. But the key is that somebody will step up and many times shooting guard Dion Wiley is that guy. The 6-foot-4 four-star was solid in an early game as Takeover worked the bench extensively. He has good size, he is an outstanding shooter from deep, and he doesn't seem to get knocked out of sorts by much of anything. Wiley said that Maryland, Indiana, Georgetown, Florida and Miami are recruiting him the hardest.

A four-star power forward, Obi Enechionyia listed Temple, Miami, Maryland, Indiana and Illinois as the five schools recruiting him the hardest.

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