Can you still have homework when you haven’t even played yet? Brandon Newman has been on extended homework since November when it was announced he was going to redshirt the 2019-20 season. Because of that, we just don’t know what to expect. He comes in as a big guard at 6’5” and 190 pounds, a top 80 player by most recruiting rankings, and as a prolific scorer in high school.
Newman broke all scoring records at Valparaiso High School with 1,577 career points, which is impressive considering Bryce Drew and Robbie Hummel came from that program. He averaged 27.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game and shot nearly 40% from three. The previous season he averaged 25.1 points and 9.5 rebounds as Valpo made it to the regional final.
I only got to see Newman play once in high school. That was December 22, 2018 when Zionsville with Isaiah Thompson played Valparaiso in an all day showcase at Manual HS here in Indy. It was admittedly a rough game for Newman. He only went 7 of 25 from the floor, but finished with 22 points because he repeatedly got to the line.
What I liked about him is that he was never afraid to attack. He struggled with his shot from three (he was 2 of 9), but he had a great game trying to attack the basket. He also showed great athleticism because there were a couple of dunk attempts that, had they landed, would have ended someone’s life.
There is little question that he is a dynamic and versatile offensive player. He has more size than Eric Hunter Jr. and a great ability to finish at the rim. The question then, is why was he not playing this season.
By most accounts I have heard and from stuff coach Painter has said himself, Newman needed the time to adjust to playing team basketball and defense at the next level. In high school and on the AAU circuit Newman was very much the guy that was “I am the best player on the floor, so I can do whatever I want at anytime. Just give me the ball”. That is not going to fly at the college game and definitely not at Purdue.
Think about it. Carsen Edwards is perhaps the only Purdue player under Painter that had that ability to just take over a game and do whatever because he was just that good. We saw it plenty of times. Newman is good, but is he THAT good? Unlikely. He needed that time to basically learn team basketball.
Because Newman needed that time I think Painter thought he could steal a year of eligibility by having Jahaad Proctor on the roster. Proctor was the one year hired gun that was supposed to be the bridge while Newman adjusted to this level. As I said above, it was a year of homework for Brandon this past year. I expect him to blast out of it and be a major contributor next season. If he plays within the offense and can use his athleticism on defense he will be a great asset.