COMMENTARY — Jaden Newman, a basketball player known nationally for her skills at just nine years of age, already has one university interested in recruiting her.
The University of Miami has reached out to Newman — in particular, women’s basketball assistant coach Derrick Gibbs, who began the recruiting process by phoning Newman’s parents.
Jaden has appeared on television more than once, like in this clip schooling former NFL defensive end Trevor Pryce with her dribbling skills.
Most recently, Good Morning America ran a piece on her completely earned accolades. You can find that here:
You definitely have to give props to this young lady. She plays varsity basketball, and she’s one of the best players on the team (average of 14.8 points per game and 7.5 assists, and that’s against girls as old as twice her age).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with what Jaden Newman is about, what she’s doing, and even her intense focus and love for the game at such a young age.
From the way she handles herself, it’s hard to come down on her family as well. After all, they didn’t go out seeking this. They encourage her to try hard, and you can tell they treat her well.
If she ends up playing college basketball because that’s what she wants to do, I say, “God bless.”
But when it comes to the actions of the University of Miami, it’s a little hard to feel anything but creeped out.
While some could make the argument that we celebrate educational prodigies, so we should celebrate this, I’d tell you to look up the phrase “non sequitur.”
The argument just does not follow.
Basketball may be a special game to a lot of people — Jaden Newman and her family included — but trying to romance a 9-year-old almost a full decade before she’s even ready for college is stepping over the line.
Coaches at this level take their games way too seriously — I refer you to what certain personnel at Penn State did to protect the integrity of their football program.
Heck, high school sports — at least football — are already becoming too much of a business and losing their moral compass in the process.
And that’s not the kind of mentality that belongs in the life of a 9-year-old girl, no matter how awesome of a basketball player she is.
To Jaden Newman and family, we wish you the best. University of Miami — not so much.