BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Jakai Newton, a talented 6-foot-3 guard from Covington, Ga., who's a consensus top-50 player in the Class of 2023, has Indiana in his list of final three schools, and he is announcing his decision on Friday on CBS Sports HQ.
Newton will make his announcement at 3 p.m. ET. He was just in Bloomington last weekend for an official visit with his family, and they were all impressed with their stay.
“We enjoyed it a lot. We were very grateful and super excited. Everything was amazing. Getting to spend all that time with the coaches, see the practices, we got a great feel for the campus,” Newton told Peegs.com.
“All of it together, meeting the coaches and everyone the first day, seeing how humble and cool coach (Mike) Woodson is, seeing all the students, seeing how the players interact with each other and with coach Woodson, we enjoyed all of it.”
Newton has offers from Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Vanderbilt and many more. Georgia, Indiana and Vanderbilt have made the cut in his final three. He's visited all three schools. Georgia, of course, is coached by former Indiana coach Tom Crean.
The four-star prospect further broke down his thoughts on the three programs ahead of his decision on Friday.
Indiana assistant Yasir Rosemond has been Newton's primary recruiter, and they've know each other for years. He was also able to get some quality one-on-one time with Indiana coach Mike Woodson, and that meant a lot, too
“I just liked the feeling I had there,” Newton said, referring to his visit both to IU’s campus and its basketball facilities. “Just being on the court at Assembly Hall, knowing all the great players who (played) there.
“He’s a great coach,” Newton told the Indianapolis Star “He told me I fit their style of play perfectly. They get out and run. Anybody can handle the ball.”
Newton and his family felt at home in Bloomington, and firmly embraced being in a community that embraces basketball so much.
“I loved it. The atmosphere, the basketball stuff. It was amazing.” Newton told Inside The Hall. “Ever since I got the offer (in June) and coach Ya (Yasir Rosemond) is the one who offered me. I’m real cool with Coach Ya. But Indiana is Indiana. It’s a great basketball school.
"I love coach Woodson. I didn’t know what to really expect from him. He’s so humble. He’s so down to earth. He’s just a humble dude. You can tell he’s got a great relationship with his players. He loves them, but he will also get on them.”
Newton also said that he loves all of Woodson's NBA experiences, and felt very comfortable from the beginning with Indiana's current players.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity. With his knowledge and his experience with the game, he knows pretty much everything,'' Newton said of Woodson. "He’s connected to everybody. And they have a really good situation there (at Indiana).
“Just learning about coach Woodson and how cool he is as a person. The campus, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t been there before. Just seeing the campus, it was just crazy. The gym, the arena and the football stadium. It’s all real connected. The fans over there, the students, it seems like everybody is a family. Everywhere I went, it was about basketball.''
Indiana has three commitments in the 2022 class, which is a consensus top-10 group. Newton would be their first commit in the 2023 class.
The Hoosiers are also actively involved with 2022 big man Noah Clowney of South Carolina. The 6-foot-10 forward has Indiana in his final four, and he is making his decision on Nov. 1. He's taking his final official visit this weekend at Alabama. (You can link to the Clowney story below)
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