Kansas makes Final Four thanks to Malik Newman
Number 1 seeded Kansas joined the Final Four with their 85 to 81 overtime victory over Duke. One of the best games of the year featured former Callaway high school standout Malik Newman looking like the Malik many Jackson basketball fans were accustomed to seeing. Malik’s confidence has risen since the Big 12 tournament where he captured MVP. He scored a career high 30 points in the Big 12 championship game sealing a number 1 seed for Kansas. Newman delivered when Kansas needed him most. Timely shot making frustrated the Blue Devils. Duke’s 2-3 zone was designed to keep players from the middle and crowd perimeter shooters. Malik’s continued moving off of screens, freeing himself to take shots. “He was the best player here,” said Kansas Coach Bill Self. Perhaps just as important as his points was his defense, especially on the last play of the game. Senior Grayson Allen, guarded by Malik tried to cross him up and drive by him, Newman kept his hand out and stayed in front of him and contested Allen’s shot. Hitting the rim in 5 places, the ball would not fall through the net. Overtime! In front of a national audience, Malik shined. Literally scoring all 13 of Kansas’s overtime points in route to winning MVP once again. Newman finished the game with 32 points. 2 years after transferring from Mississippi State, Malik has reached the Final Four. Social media was buzzing about Malik Newman. Especially those who saw him play in high school. Facebook profile pics, statuses, shoutouts to Malik were seen up to 24 hours after the big win. His fans were proud and happy. Former coaches reached out to him on social media and of course shots of his dad surfaced too. Malik has made is presence known nationally. Now he is, 2 wins away from a National Championship.