Julian Newman — the featured player in the first game of the upcoming SLAM Showdown — has been in the national spotlight since FIFTH GRADE, when he became a starter for Downey Christian’s HS varsity team at just 4-5 and 70 pounds. The rising junior from Orlando, FL, has dominated competition and boasts millions of views across YouTube and almost 350K followers on Instagram.
Most kids aren’t showcased on Good Morning America, CONAN, Ellen, and the Steve Harvey show due to their ball skills. But Newman is different.
He is coming off a sophomore campaign when he averaged a preposterous 32.7 points, 7.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game on 49 percent shooting from the field. On top of that, he made 93 percent of his free throws and a staggering 53 percent from three point range, per Max Preps.
You don’t expect to see those numbers from a 5-7, 16-year-old PG. Height may be a concern to some college scouts, but the tape speaks for itself. Just this past week, he put on a show at the Miami Pro-Am, dropping 16 points in a single quarter with NBA players like Michael Beasley and Bam Adebayo on his squad.
Here’s some of what Newman had to say in his first blog for USA Today High School Sports:
Everywhere I go I have guys trying to make a name off of me because of all of my videos, but I take that as a sign of respect. I would worry more if guys weren’t trying to come at me. Competition is part of the game and I love it.
Julian also discussed the celebrities who have reached out to him, most notably Drake:
Just like every kid my age I listen to a lot of music. I’m definitely listening to Drake’s new album. Most people don’t know this, but me and Drake have a cool relationship. We text from time to time and stuff like that. We got cool because he commented on one of my videos on Instagram and I DM’d him and said that I appreciated the love and he hit me back asking for my schedule and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I think he’s gonna try and catch a game next season.
Newman’s next challenge is to prove to the basketball world that he can perform on one of the most iconic outdoor courts in the nation: Dyckman in NYC. As previously noted, he will be the featured player in Game 1 of the SLAM Showdown, which will be streamed live on Facebook on Monday, July 30. It is the first of six total games leading up to the SLAM Summer Classic on August 18th.
If Julian shows out and is voted MVP, he has the chance to earn a spot in the Classic.
Will the young hooper from Florida rise to the occasion? Get your popcorn ready.