Indiana landed its first rookie in the 2023 class on Friday afternoon when Jakai Newton announced his commitment to the Hoosiers.
Newton, a 6-foot-3 goaltender who plays at Newton High School in Covington, Ga., Paid an official visit to Bloomington from October 14-16.
The combo guard is ranked 43rd player in the class, according to Rivals.com. He is ranked player No. 117 and three-star prospect by 247Sports.
Newton had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Xavier.
Inside the Hall spoke with Newton about his decision to end the recruiting process early and commit to Indiana. Our full Q&A, which was conducted earlier this week, is available below:
What made you finally make this decision? Why do you think Indiana is the right place for you?
“I could just feel the energy and love from the fans, from the coaches. And then just seeing the program and talking to Woody (Mike Woodson), it’s like it’s the perfect fit.
Once the visit was over, what was your communication with the staff?
“We spoke as soon as we left. They left a huge impression on me and my family. And they (the staff) were really hoping that I would go there and that this would be the place for me. So I told my parents about it. We felt the same about it. So we chatted for a few days. I actually just spoke to the coaches yesterday (Monday) on a Zoom and told them.
What was their reaction?
“I told coach Ya (Yasir Rosemond) the day before (Sunday). But on the roll, everyone started to applaud. They told me how much it meant that I was committed. They are excited about how they are starting Class ’23.
Lots of guys wait until the process is complete and take more tours, but you felt comfortable going ahead and making that decision early. How much do you think you are now able to focus on your game and worry about recruiting in the future?
“It’s definitely a big relief. I feel like I’ve found a good fit. Now I can just focus on basketball. No more going to other places, seeing this or seeing that.
How did your family react when you let them know you wanted to go to Indiana?
“My parents, they like it. They think it’s a good decision. My father, he keeps talking about it.
What excites you most about your future at IU?
“Probably just being coached by Coach Woody. And just see the opportunities I can get (at IU).
What’s the next step in terms of gaming? What are you going to use over the next two years to improve yourself?
“I want to have a full game and be able to do everything and have no weaknesses. I also want to be more of a playmaker. I want to use the time to improve myself. I want to be a student of the game, watch a lot of movies from every game that I can and see what the other guys are doing.
What impression did UI fans make on you when you visited?
“Everyone was showing love. The fans and I also felt it from the coaches. The fans were crazy. I had never heard my name scream in the student section before. It was the first time. It was crazy. “
– Jakai Newton (@jakai_newton) 22 October 2021
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