Class of 2023 four-star guard Jakai Newton commits to Indiana
Indiana landed its first recruit in the class of 2023 on Friday afternoon when Jakai Newton announced his pledge to the Hoosiers.
Newton, a 6-foot-3 guard who plays at Newton High School in Covington, Georgia, took an official visit to Bloomington October 14-16.
The combo guard is rated the No. 43 player in the class, according to Rivals.com. He’s ranked the No. 117 player and a 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 ultimately led you to make this decision? Why do you feel Indiana is the right place for you?
“I could just feel the energy and the love from the fans, the coaches. And then just seeing the program and talking to Woody (Mike Woodson), it just feels like the perfect fit.”
Once the visit ended, what was your communication with the staff?
“We talked as soon as we left. They left a huge impression on my family and I. And they (the staff) were really hoping that I would go there and it would be the place for me. So I talked to my parents about it. We felt the same way about it. So we talked for a couple of days. I actually just talked to the coaches yesterday (Monday) on a Zoom and told them.”
What was their reaction?
“I told coach Ya (Yasir Rosemond) the night before (Sunday). But on the call, everybody started clapping. They told me how much it meant that I’m committing. They’re excited about how they’re starting off the ’23 class.”
— Jakai Newton (@jakai_newton) October 22, 2021
A lot of guys wait the process out and take more visits, but you felt comfortable to go ahead and make this decision early. For you, how big is it that you’ll now be able to focus on your game and now worry about recruiting moving forward?
“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.”
What was your family’s reaction when you let them know you wanted to go to Indiana?
“My parents, they like it. They think it’s a good decision. My dad, he can’t stop talking about it.”
What are you most excited about in terms of your future at IU?
“Probably just being coached by coach Woody. And just seeing the opportunities that I can have (at IU).”
What’s the next step in terms of your game? What are you going to use the next couple of years to get better at?
“I want to have a complete game and be able to do everything and have no weaknesses. I want to be more of a playmaker, too. I want to use the time to get better at that. I want to be a student of the game, watch a lot of film of every game I can and see what other guys are doing.”
What impression did the IU fans make on you during your visit?
“Everybody was showing love. The fans and I felt it from the coaches, too. The fans were crazy. I’d never heard my name yelled in the student section before. That was the first time. It was crazy.”
Filed to: Jakai Newton