Apparently some teams are forfeiting to avoid playing Downey High and its 11-year-old point guard Julian Newman (video)
Feb 18, 2013, 3:08 PM EST
Back in December we wrote about Julian Newman, the pint-sized basketball phenom who starts for the Downey Christian High School (FL) team even though he’s only 11 years old.
Julian, a fifth-grader, is averaging more than 14 points per game for Downey, which is cruising at 18-5 overall behind their miniature point guard. It’s all legal, since in Florida you get four years of high school athletic eligibility once you get to the ninth grade, but there’s nothing in the rules preventing younger kids from playing.
Anyway, Julian’s story has blown up since December: a YouTube video featuring his highlights has more than 1.7 million views; he’s been on a handful of talk shows and he’s performed at an Orlando Magic game. And The New York Times did a terrific profile on him.
Interesting fact from that article: apparently some of Downey’s opponents are forfeiting games so that they don’t have to face Julian.
Downey, a longtime doormat of its low-level league, now dominates with an 18-5 record. The role reversal has not sat well with some schools, Jamie said. Five have forfeited games. For some, he said, “the real reason is, they don’t want to lose.”
The pattern of forfeits has strengthened Jamie’s resolve to shift next year into the mainstream Florida High School Athletic Association for the second of what will be Julian’s eight varsity seasons.
As you can see, the kid has great handles (in fact, “Handles” is his nickname), and gets an ‘A’ for shooting and and passing skills. But the drawback to being so much smaller than your opponents is that it makes it virtually impossible to make any sort of meaningful impact on defense. I would imagine the reason some teams don’t want to play against him is that it’s a no-win situation. What high school coach wants to create isolations to post up a tiny fifth-grader?
Myself, I’d be terrified of accidentally stepping on him.
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