Mississippi State combo guard Malik Newman will enter this year’s NBA draft, as a source told Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com and Newman’s father confirmed to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The freshman is the 46th-best prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and No. 55 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com, making him a second-round prospect. Newman won’t hire an agent, Rothstein hears, so he has until May 25th, 10 days after the end of the NBA draft combine, to withdraw and retain his college eligibility.
Newman was a top-flight prospect coming out of high school, ranking eighth in the final RSCI listing for 2015. His stock slipped this year, as he wasn’t a major scoring force for the Bulldogs, putting up only 11.3 points per game, even though he nailed 37.9% of his 3-point attempts. He isn’t an elite defender either, Ford writes in his profile, though the ESPN scribe is fond of his passing.
The 19-year-old’s best game this season was probably his 25-point outburst against in-state rival Mississippi on January 23rd. He didn’t have an outstanding team around him, as Mississippi State finished 14-17 and failed to qualify for postseason play.