The Mississippi high school team that features top University of Kentucky basketball recruit Malik Newman is allowed to participate in two out-of-state events this season.
Newman's coach decided to play both of them in the Bluegrass State.
Callaway High School will be one of the featured teams in both the Marshall County Hoop Fest in December and the McCracken County Festival of Hoops in January.
The final schedule for the Marshall County event was obtained Wednesday by the Herald-Leader, and it includes several of UK's top recruiting targets.
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Callaway will face Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) on Friday, Dec. 5 and Orangeville Prep (Canada) on Saturday, Dec. 6. Those two games will pit Newman against high-flying UK recruit Derrick Jones and 7-footer Thon Maker, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 1 player in the class of 2016.
Top UK targets Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg will also play in the Hoop Fest, in addition to perennial national powers Oak Hill (Va.), Huntington Prep (W.Va.), La Lumiere (Ind.) and Arlington Country Day (Fla.).
Callaway Coach David Sanders told the Herald-Leader that he began talking to organizers of the Marshall County Hoop Fest last year.
Sanders chose the two events in Kentucky over the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., the City of Palms Classic in Florida and other showcases that draw national attention every year.
"They're super excited, man," Sanders said of his players. "That's what it's all about — going up against some of the best guys in the country. They want to face those top guys that they hear about all summer. And they get a chance to showcase themselves against the best talent in the country. We want to prove that we're one of the top 10 teams in the country."
Of course, the two Western Kentucky events will also give UK fans a chance to see Newman, one of John Calipari's top recruiting targets for the class of 2015.
And it will give Newman an opportunity to interact with those fans, who have flocked to Hoop Fest in recent years to watch such players as Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker.
Sanders says his star player — who hasn't given many hints about his recruitment — is more interested in the opportunity to go up against players like Jones and Maker.
"You have to really know Malik — there's not really much that excites him in the way of teams and fans," Sanders said. "He's really more excited about the matchups. That's his whole thing — he wants to play against those players."
The event begins Thursday, Dec. 4 and will be played in four sessions over three days. Ticket information is expected to be released soon.
Other highlights on the schedule include Jones and Archbishop Carroll going up against Bragg and Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Ohio). The Saturday night session boasts Diallo and Our Savior (N.Y.) — one of the top programs in the country last season — against powerful Oak Hill, which features several Division I prospects.
Bragg and Diallo — both power forwards — are two of the top 10 players in the class of 2015 and considered two of UK's biggest recruiting targets.