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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
ESPN 100 PG Newton names finalists

By Dave Telep

On Tuesday, one of the schools that had been a legitimate landing spot for ESPN 100 point guard Ja'Quan Newton (Philadelphia/Neumann-Goretti) was eliminated -- and not by Newton’s doing, either.

When fellow ESPN 100 prospect Phil Booth (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph) committed to play for Villanova, Jay Wright’s point guard search was over.

Ja'Quan Newton
ESPN 100 PG Ja'Quan Newton trimmed his list to UCLA, Oregon, Minnesota, Syracuse, Miami and Texas A&M.
A day later, Newton has narrowed his final list of colleges to six.

The schools making the cut are UCLA, Oregon, Minnesota, Syracuse, Miami and Texas A&M. Hometown Villanova would have been on the list, but Booth beat Newton to the punch. Newton, who is ranked No. 67 in the ESPN 100, now intends to rip through the process so he’s able to pick a program on his terms.

“My plan is to take visits as soon as possible and just go from there,” Newton said.

Newton is a neophyte to the visit process, having only been on Syracuse’s campus -- and that was during an elite camp as a ninth-grader. As much as he’d like to decide quickly, he needs those visits to make the final call.

According to Newton, Miami, Syracuse, UCLA and Oregon will receive official visits.

“I was going by who contacted me the most and who I built relationships with,” Newton said of his finalists. “They came to all my games and saw me all July.”

Of the omnipresent programs, Newton took particular notice of Minnesota’s Richard Pitino. “Coach Pitino was at every game,” he said.

One certainty in the guard’s decision is the position he’ll play in college.

“That’s the main part of my decision,” Newton said. “When I talk to the schools, I ask them what position they’ll play me and they all say point guard.”

Newton went on a tear this summer. He starred at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and then continued to ride the wave with a strong effort at the LeBron James Skills Academy. He’s a scoring point guard and a guy whose innate toughness and ability to get into the paint will carry him.