Top Kentucky basketball recruiting target Malik Newman helped lead the Team USA under-17 squad to a FIBA world championships gold medal Saturday in Dubai.
Newman — a 6-foot-4 guard in the class of 2015 — had 21 points and 11 rebounds in Team USA's 99-92 victory over Australia in the title game. The Americans won all six of their previous contests in the competition by an average margin of 43.2 points per game.
This year's squad included nine players with scholarship offers from Kentucky.
Newman — from Jackson, Miss. — has long been one of the Wildcats' top recruiting targets in the class of 2015. He averaged a team-high 14.9 points per game during the tournament and was named the event's most valuable player.
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"He's got that attitude that he's not going to lose a game," said USA Coach Don Showalter. "We got down by 10 and he kind of took over there in about a four-, five-minute stretch where he was unbelievable. He hit shots that were tough shots and he really led our team. I think the rest of our players just fed off of that. In the second half he did a good job of distributing the basketball and we got everybody involved."
Newman — known for his scoring ability — led Team USA with 3.0 assists per game.
He was also the MVP for last year's under-16 team that won a gold medal in Uruguay.
Fellow UK recruit Diamond Stone — a 6-10 center from Milwaukee — was second on the team in scoring (13.1 points) and led the squad in rebounding with 9.9 boards per game. He set a Team USA record for blocked shots in the event with 23, which was eight more than the previous mark.
Newman and Stone are friends and have talked about possibly playing for the same college. Stone will make his announcement in November, while Newman plans to wait until after his senior season to make a college decision.
Talented class of 2016 prospects Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles also averaged double-digit points for the tournament. Both players have UK scholarship offers and visited Lexington for last year's Big Blue Madness.
College coaches are not permitted to do any off-campus recruiting or evaluations during the current period. Coaches will return to the recruiting trail Sept. 9.