When Ben Howland was hired at Mississippi State last month he promised to make a splash in recruiting.
Howland made good on that promise Friday landing the nation’s top point guard Malik Newman of Callaway.
Newman chose the Bulldogs over other finalists Kentucky, Ole Miss, Kansas, LSU and N.C. State.
“I really just weighed out all my options and I think it’s somewhere that I can go and really have an impact,” Newman said. “I think the guys really want me there. I think with the new coach, I think he’ll push me. He only expects great things out of me and the team and I think that’s something that’s going to happen.”
MSU was the first program to offer Newman. His father, Horatio Webster, played for the Bulldogs from 1997-98 under Richard Williams.
“I think it’s a special thing,” Newman said. “I honestly don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t want to follow their dad’s footsteps with all of the things that he did like (SEC) Newcomer of the Year and things like that. That’s what people are expecting out of me. I think it’ll be a good story at the end of the day.”
Newman is the first five-star prospect to sign with MSU since Utah Jazz standout Rodney Hood in 2011. He is the state’s top recruit and ranked the No. 7 prospect in the country.
Newman joins four-star shooting guard Quinndary Weatherspoon of Velma Jackson and three-star power forward Joseph Strugg of Montgomery, Ala., in the Bulldogs’ 2015 class.
Newman guided the Chargers to their fourth consecutive Class 5A state championship this past season averaging 29.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
The McDonald’s All-American also played for Team USA winning a gold medal and MVP honors at both the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship and the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.