Cam Smith, USA TODAY SPORTS
This is gospel truth: U of Miami hoops program is recruiting a 9-year-old girl.
Jaden Newman isn't a normal girls basketball player. The 9-year-old earned national headlines in January for playing on her school's varsity high school basketball team while still in fourth grade. Yet she's now getting attention of a more formal kind that raises even more eyebrows: She's being formally recruited by a major collegiate program.
Earlier in June, Newman received an official recruiting letter from the University of Miami's girls basketball program. The Miami recruiting efforts have been led by assistant coach Derrick Gibbs, beginning with a phone call to the Newman family through Jaden Newman's Downey Christian School. Given that she is coached by her father, it wasn't too hard to get in touch with the youngster's family, and shortly thereafter she was sent the recruiting packet that you see in the photo below by the Miami coaching staff. All of these recruiting contacts and timeline were confirmed by Newman's father, Jamie Newman, in an email exchange and interview with USA Today.
On June 10, Jaden Newman took an unofficial recruiting visit to Miami, where she toured the program's facilities and got to mug inside the Miami "U", among other experiences.
Keep in mind, Newman is just 9-years-old. Most 9-year-olds are thrilled spending summers at various camps; Newman is visiting potential college locations. She may just be the youngest athlete to ever be formally recruited by a major college program.
Of course, there's a reason why college programs are hot on Newman's heels. The girls hoops prodigy follows in the footsteps of her brother, Julian Newman, who excelled as an elementary schooler competing on the Downey Christian boys team. Both have been brought up by their father to train hard and focus on basketball when they're not in school.
If there are any doubts that Jaden Newman can compete on the high school level, they can probably be assauged by the highlights you see above. Or the fact that she averaged 14.8 points and 7.5 assists per game.
Jaden Newman has previously said that she dreams of playing for Connecticut, so Miami may eventually have an uphill battle to land her collegiate services. Then again, starting a good five years before traditional recruiting windows open can't hurt their chances.