Newton waits for scholarship – QNS.com

Newton waits for scholarship

When it came time to make his summer plans, Justin Newton did not think twice.
Forget AAU ball with Team Odom and trips across the country. He was staying local - with his Poly Prep teammates in Bay Ridge. Six days a week, he made the commute from Jamaica to south Brooklyn, spending seven hours a day in the hot, sticky gymnasium without air conditioning.
To many, it might seem like a bewildering move considering the summer before an unsigned player’s senior year is so important. The 6-foot combo guard was passing up the chance to play in front of hundreds of college coaches at showcase tournaments. However, he is also a kid, who despite hailing from Queens passed on other high profile programs to become a Blue Devil because his junior high school coach at Susan B. Anthony, Josh Barkin, suggested it.
“I never second-guessed myself,” he said of his off-season decision. “This was an important year to develop my skills, my jump shot and making better decisions as a point guard.”
He also stayed close to home to play in the Empire State Games with Holy Cross star Sylven Landesberg. The two helped the scholastic team win gold. Used as a defensive stopper, Newton also averaged 10 points per game.
On the court, the move has worked out. Poly Prep is 14-0, has compiled big non-league victories over PSAL program New Utrecht, Catholic powers Bishop Ford and St. Dominic of Oyster Bay (Long Island), and Newtown leads Poly Prep in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game, six rebounds and six assists.
“The hard work is helping right now,” he said.
The Jamaica native is the Blue Devils’ defensive specialist - he plays inside on their zone but will also guard the opposing team’s top perimeter player.
“He’s such a winner,” Poly Prep coach Bill McNally said. “He does everything for us. Whenever we need something, whatever it is, he delivers.”
That flexibility, unfortunately, has not helped Newton land a Division I scholarship. Schools have taken notice, but, in Newton’s words, “they aren’t making any decisions,” meaning no scholarship. Fordham has expressed more interest of late. It does not matter who it is, though.
“I’ll go out of state,” he said. “I’ll go anywhere.”
McNally has advised Newton to forget about the college process for now; the further the Blue Devils go in the ISHL - the city’s lesser-known private school league - the more he will be seen. However, McNally himself cannot understand what has taken so long.
“He can help somebody win and in college that’s what it’s all about,” the 15th-year coach said. “Wherever he ends up, they’re going to love him because he will help them win.
“He’s a sleeper,” McNally added. “He’s certainly the most underrated kid I’ve ever had.”

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