The last four months have been a blur for Malik Newman, the nation's top player in the class of 2015.
If he wasn't playing in the EYBL with the Jackson Tigers or winning a gold medal with USA Basketball, he was running alongside 2014 five-star Emmanuel Mudiay on Mo Williams Elite or starring at an elite shoe camp. Each step of the way, the 6-foot-3 combo guard from Jackson, Miss., was dominant, but his experience with USA Basketball in Uruguay stood out.
"Really, all of it was a blessing," Newman told Rivals.com. "USA Basketball was a good experience, though. Finding out about a new culture and things like that was cool."
Some players are coy about rankings and say they don't matter. Newman is somewhere in the middle. He's aware of his status as the top player in the class of 2015 and knows that he can't afford to rest.
"It means a lot, but at the same time it doesn't," Newman said of his ranking. "At any time I could fall off, so what I try to do is stay focused to play hard each and every time I step on the floor."
A scoring machine with a pure jump shot and above-average athleticism, Newman looks like he was born to score the basketball. He can get to the rim, he can hit pull-ups, and he can go on binges with his outside shooting. At the moment, he feels comfortable as a scoring combo guard, but he knows that he has to improve his playmaking and that was what he liked best about playing with Mudiay.
"He taught me a lot of things and I taught him some, so we brought the best out of each other," Newman said. "I feel comfortable as a combo. But I'm trying to work more on my point guard skills and develop those.
"That's one of the things that E-man helped me most with this summer. He taught me a lot about point guard play."
According to Newman, he's hardly paid attention to his recruiting. However, he mentions Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Mississippi State, Florida State, Arkansas and Kansas among those showing heavy interest.
For now, though, Newman just wants to play ball. He's not reached the point where the hype or pressure of recruiting has started to bother him.
"I haven't really reached that point because of my love for the game," Newman said. "When it comes to basketball, it really doesn't matter. I just want to play."
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