Playing with the high school girls at the age of 9 was one thing; getting scouted by colleges, that’s a whole other ball game.
This June, Jaden Newman, a point guard at Downey Christian School in Orlando, FL, became the youngest person ever recruited by a college program when the University of Miami, a Division I college, sent her father Jamie a letter officially expressing their interest.
“It shows that I’m really good at basketball,” the bold youngster tells Ellen’s Good News.
The university's assistant coach Derrick Gibbs gave Jamie a call earlier in the year after he spotted one of Jaden’s videos online, and invited the young girl to make a visit to the campus. The 4-foot-7 phenom currently plays on the high school's varsity team, and averages 14.8 points and 7.5 assists per game. As evidenced by her game reel, which generated national headlines in January, she is almost untouchable on the court.
Jaden says she plays so well because she’s been going at it for a long time, and she also gets a lot of sleep! Her only hindrance may be height.
“I’ve played basketball since I was 3, and I play with older people,” she explains. “If you play at your age, you’re not going to get better, but if you play higher, you have more competition.”
Jaden grew up in a family of basketball all-stars. Her older brother, Julian, is currently in 6th grade, but ranked among the top 100 high school players in the nation. Her father and mother also hit the courts while growing up.
“My wife and I met as point guards in high school,” says Jamie, now 33. “We played at opposing schools, and were arch rivals. Then we got married and had two basketball kids!”
For now, Jaden will keep scoring high points in grade school, but she’s certainly happy to know she already has an option for college (in 9 more years!). The University of Miami is not her first choice -- that would be the University of Connecticut.
“After I finish high school, I want to go to college and play for U-Conn then go to the WNBA,” Jaden comments. “Then, I want to be the first girl to be in the NBA.”
Get her autograph now!