Downey Christian (Orlando) is a tiny independent school that operates outside the realm of Florida’s primary governing body for high school sports — the Florida High School Athletic Association.
The boys basketball team at Downey Christian isn’t going to be vying for a spot in MaxPreps.com’s national rankings anytime soon and none of its opponents will either.
But that shouldn’t totally diminish the fact that the Patriots have a fifth grader starting on their varsity team.
Coached by his father Jamie Newman at the Orlando school, fifth grader Julian Newman stands 4-foot-5 and starts at point guard for Downey Christian.
“Oh yeah, they announced his name and the whole deal,” said Crooms Academy head coach Don Smith, an opponent of Downey Christian’s last week. “Downey Christian is a real small private school and they put a little bit of anybody out there. He’s a little bitty thing, but he’s very talented.”
Jamie Newman, who says Julian has played up against older competition since he was three years old, doesn’t hold back when talking about his son.
“He has a tremendous skill level,” Jamie said. “He has moves that even NBA players don’t have. He does stuff that hasn’t been done before with the ball.”
Still skeptical? See Julian in action:
According to Jamie Newman, allowing Julian to play varsity basketball wasn’t a difficult decision. The father claims that his son scored 91 points in three quarters against middle school competition, leading him to believe it was a natural step.
“I was a little concerned that the physical aspect would be a factor, but the thing is, people can’t stay in front of him,” Jamie Newman said.
“He is one of their better players,” said Smith, who is in his 39th year of coaching at the high school and college level. “He’s not playing just because he is Jamie’s son.”
Recruiting king John Calipari may want to take note as he begins to evaluate prospects for the Class of 2020 (sarcasm alert).
“Of course he wants to play at Kentucky,” Jamie Newman said.