Former Mississippi State star Malik Newman is considered to be the nation's best available transfer. Newman has reportedly visited Kansas, Miami, NC State and Western Kentucky so far. Yes, Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are coached by former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury and could be the wild card for Newman's services.
Newman, ESPN's No. 1 shooting guard and No. 10 overall prospect in the 2015 class, shocked the college basketball world last spring when he picked the in-state Bulldogs over Kentucky, Kansas and NC State. Newman was expected to rejuvenate Mississippi State under first-year head coach Ben Howland, but he averaged just 11.3 points in his freshman season in Starkville. The Bulldogs finished just 14-17 and placed 11th in the SEC.
Could Newman surprise again with his next college decision? Jeff Goodman expects Bill Self and Kansas to make a push, and Newman would be a good fit in Lawrence. Matt Tait of KUSports.com writes that Jayhawks guards Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham would be better served being pushed in practice by Newman during his redshirt season. Newman would have to sit out the 2016-17 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, but a spot will open up for him in 2017-18 after Mason III's senior season.
Although it may seem like Newman to the Jayhawks is a natural fit, Chad Bishop of WBKO in Bowling Green, Kentucky, says not so fast. One source told Bishop that Newman is "probably a lock" to choose Western Kentucky. Bishop was hesitant to believe the source, writing "I'll believe it when I see it -- but wouldn't that be something?"