Can new head coach Mike Woodson recruit? Yes he can. With less than three weeks to the start of the 2021-2022 season, Coach Mike Woodson got his first class of 2023 recruit 4-star combo guard Jakai Newton.
The 6’3″, 190-pound recruit came out of Covington (Ga.) and held numerous offers including Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Xavier. He recently narrowed down his list to Indiana, Georgia, and Vanderbilt and announced that he would be deciding on October 22 when he ultimately decided upon joining Indiana.
Per 247Sports.com, Jakai Newton had high praises for Coach Woodson. “It just feels like a home and the players he has coached. He has coached a lot of successful players and there are things he brings outside of basketball too.”
The impact of Yasir Rosemond cannot be understated too for the recruitment of Newton. Yasir has had a long, close relationship with Newton that started before the basketball season a year ago. Yasir was the one who put Newton on a podcast before Newton had any offers or interested programs which helped Newton get his name out there to the public. This relationship helped show Newton how he can fit into the Hoosier program.
The No. 12 overall combo guard will be an instant impact player for the Hoosiers who will lose guards Parker Stewart, Xavier Johnson, and Rob Phinisee at the end of the 2022-2023 season to eligibility pending they all stay after this season. He is the second combo guard that Woodson has recruited, joining Jalen Hood-Schifino of the 2022 class.
Newton’s skillset is known to be revolved around explosive, aggressive play where he wants to attack the basket. He is not the best shooter, but acknowledges this weakness and wants to develop it during his high school and collegiate career.
The next potential recruit on Woodson’s radar is class of 2022 power forward Noah Clowney who will announce his decision on November 1. He narrowed down to his top four back in August where he included Indiana, Virginia Tech, Florida, and Alabama. He recently took an official visit to Indiana as well. Indiana currently has the 12th-ranked class for 2022 per 247Sports.