Hoop Dreams: Malik Newman’s Summer Vacation
By Travis Gordon (@lilhookermack)
Malik Newman has garnered national attention for his basketball exploits. The 6’3” combo guard out of Calloway High School (Jackson, MS) averaged nearly 23 PPG and 5 RPG during his freshman season in leading the Chargers to the 5A state championship. The MaxPreps Freshman of the Year and No. 4 ranked player on the 2015 ESPN 25 has agreed to sit with “A Good Sports Hang” and the “Jackson Advocate” to give us his version of a summer basketball diary. He will join me periodically throughout the summer to give updates on his travels. In Malik’s first entry (June 4th) he discussed the NBA playoffs, his ankle injury, the 2015 ESPN 25 and former Mississippi State guard Detrick White’s influence on him. Here’s an edited version to Part 1 of our series. For the entire interview go to: agoodsportshang.com (Podcast section)
TG: Give me your take on the NBA playoffs so far, who’s going to win it all?
MN: Whoever gets out of the West. I think it’s going to be the Thunder or the Spurs. Whoever wins that series, I think will win it.
TG: You’ve recently had the misfortune of being injured; give us an update on your health and a timeline when you should be fully recovered and back on the court.
MN: Hopefully like the 1st or the 2nd week of July. It’s just a chipped bone in my ankle. It’s floating around so were doing therapy to try to get it back strong.
TG: When did you found out about the injury?
MN: Last Tuesday, I went to the doctor and they took X-rays. It was chipped so they said I needed to sit out.
TG: Was it a new injury?
MN: I did it like two months ago and I took a week off. Then I started playing and kept turning it and turning it, so it was really my fault. I should have been well by now.
TG: What are the major areas of growth in your game that you want to work on this summer?
MN: This summer I’m trying to improve on my defense, my leadership and just being able to close a game and taking over.
TG: You started this summer playing against guys 2-3 years older than you, what has that experience taught you about your game?
MN: That I have to be tough and that I have to always play fast. They are playing at a college level so I have to play fast. I have to get stronger and just be tougher.
TG: You keep a list of players that are ranked above you as a means of motivation. By any chance are any of those players on your summer schedule?
MN: Actually the list that I had this year, they were all seniors. All of them are gone and they are not playing AAU.
TG: Tell me what Detrick White has meant to your development as a player.
MN: He’s was a real big influence. Growing up I used to always want to beat Detrick so I would always play him. He would always beat me, so that was one thing that helped me improve my game. The little fouls that I thought were fouls he didn’t give them to me. He really just Deebo’d me, so he made my tougher and stronger. Now when we play, it’s almost like I’m playing myself.
Follow Travis on Twitter: @lilhookermack
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