Posted On: 11/28/18 8:50 PM
With he start of the high school season, it is a good time to being to think about one of the most prestigious awards there is in the state of Indiana for any sport, Mr. Basketball. The annual award is one that will resonate nationally as Indiana has always produced the type of talent to play at the highest levels. Today, we begin our look with Valparaiso’s Brandon Newman.
Junior Season Stats: 25.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 spg, 1.2 apg
Senior Season Stats: 36 points, 15 rebounds against Hobart
Overview: In the course of the last year, Valparaiso’s Brandon Newman went from being kind of an unknown to one of the best in the state and did so with some unconventional methods. He’s playing at a high school not in a metropolis, played AAU for Meanstreets based out of Illinois, and now looks like a legit contender for the award. The 6’4 guard has committed to Purdue and will be one of the more old-school types that head coach Matt Painter covets. He’s big and has the skill and strength to do a lot of things, from shooting at a high, high level to being able to post up in the paint and cover the boards like a big.
Why He Could Win: I think there are a few solid chances for Newman here. First off, Valparaiso is a fairly well known 4A team and could be the contender out of the north to make a run to the state title game. They also play Marion, Zionsville, and Warren Central in three straight games in the middle of the season. That stretch will need to be where Newman is at his best because he doesn’t have many other chances to be seen down in Indianapolis other than those during the regular season. Also, I think there is a good chance that Newman ends up with the best statistics throughout the season. Playing an easier schedule obviously helps but he’s going to be in line for double-doubles all year long with high point totals.
Why He Might Not: The biggest issue for Newman is that he is from outside of Indianapolis and the two other top guys are from there. That hurts. Also, his competition level is a tier down. Still really good but Cathedral and Center Grove’s schedules are brutal relative to Valparaiso’s. I think the flip side of the three-game trip down towards the Indy area in December is that if he doesn’t play great, those who do see him at that point will have those performances in their head until they make their run in March.
Early Season Thoughts: Having the best statistics from the first game is helpful and what he will need to build his case. However, I think he’s probably in the biggest hole compared to the others just from the standpoint of he won’t be seen nearly as much. With Armaan Franklin and Trayce Jackson-Davis, every time they step on the floor, there is likely going to be somebody of importance watching their game and it probably won’t be the only time they see them all year long. Still, I think the numbers Newman will put up will help a ton and if he can have a solid December trip and make that run at a 4A State Title, he’s still firmly in the conversation.