A Florida fifth-grader, standing all of 4 feet 5 inches tall, is making waves in Florida basketball communities and not for his height. It's because he is starting for a local high school team.
Julian Newman, who already has his sights on playing for Kentucky, plays for Downey Christian in Orlando and is getting rave reviews because of his ball-handing skills. And from reports from fellow coaches and players, his talent is not a joke as evidence of Julian scoring 91 points against middle school kids, according to his father.
"Oh yeah, they announced his name and the whole deal," said Crooms Academy head coach Don Smith, an opponent of Downey Christian's last week. "Downey Christian is a real small private school and they put a little bit of anybody out there. He's a little bitty thing, but he's very talented."
Downey Christian doesn't compete for state championships because they operate outside of the Florida High School Athletic Association, which is the state's governing body.
"He has a tremendous skill level," Jamie Newman, Julian's father and coach at Downey Christian. "He has moves that even NBA players don't have. He does stuff that hasn't been done before with the ball. I was a little concerned that the physical aspect would be a factor, but the thing is, people can't stay in front of him."