One of the biggest problems with basketball is the overhyping of young players. Oftentimes middle school basketball players are anointed as “the next big thing” and more often than not these players don’t live up to the early expectations.
For example, if a middle schooler dunks or one of their (workout) mixtapes gets posted they’re said to be the next big thing, but this frequently does not turn out to be true.
In this article, I will highlight a few players in the 2020 class who were hyped since middle school but did not meet expectations.
Julian Newman started playing varsity basketball in fifth grade meaning he played on a high school team when he was still in elementary school!
Soon after this, he was featured on different talk shows such as Conan, Ellen, Good Morning America, and the Steve Harvey Show. When Newman was just 12 years old he received over 18 million views on a YouTube video of one of his workouts.
In middle school, Newman was called one of the best players in his class, and by the time Newman was in eighth grade he was called “Allen Iverson 2.0.” During his high school career, Newman’s father created his own brand of clothing based on his son (and daughter) called Prodigy.
Newman and his sister (Jaden) were heavily marketed in the brand. After his junior year, Newman’s father then created his own school, Prodigy Prep. Also during this year, the whole Newman family had their own reality TV show on Overtime called “Hello Newmans.” However, even with all this hype going on, Prodigy Prep, according to one YouTuber, only had a record of around 6 and 13.
Although this has not been exactly confirmed, it is thought that the team had a winning percentage below 40 percent. At the end of his senior year, Newman had no D-1 college offers. To explain this we have to look at a few things.
First off, when Newman was putting up crazy stats his father was the coach which gave him the ability to shoot whenever he wanted to while most players do not have the go-ahead to take the shots he was taking.
The second factor was the weak competition Newman played against and the third is his empty stats (meaning, he put up good numbers but could not lead his team to an overall winning record). It is expected that Newman will play overseas next year.
When Kyree Walker was in middle school he was called the “best middle school player in the country” and a “man child.”
During Walker’s freshman year he was considered one of the best freshmen in the country. Right before Walker’s freshman year, he committed to Arizona State. For his freshman year, Walker decided to play for Moreau Catholic High School in California.
In one game against Troy Brown (a senior at the time), Walker (who was still a freshman) scored 25 points. During Walker’s freshman year he averaged around 21.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
After his freshman year, Walker was ranked fourth in the country by ESPN and was highly ranked by every other media outlet. The summer going into his sophomore year Walker played for Dream Vision on the Adidas Gauntlet, and he had a stint with the Oakland Soldiers on the Nike EYBL.
As a sophomore, Walker transferred to Hillcrest Prep, and around the time the season was starting he de-committed from Arizona State. Walker averaged around 25 points, 9 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 2.7 steals, and 2.4 blocks during his sophomore year and once again had a good summer on the Adidas Gauntlet.
Although Walker slowly fell down the rankings as others caught up to him physically, he was still a five star. Walker had a great junior year where he averaged around 30.2 points, 11 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.4 steals, and 2.2 blocks. Once again Walker fell a little bit in the rankings but was still a high-level recruit.
Before his senior year, Walker left Hillcrest Prep and for some unknown reason, he didn’t play high school basketball his senior year.
Because of this he plummeted in the rankings and is currently considered only a lower-tier four-star. Walker will train with Chameleon BX next year. Of note, however, is that Walker has the best chance to play in the NBA out of the three on this list.
In sixth grade, Morrow was already standing at 6’2 and was dunking with ease in games.
Playing for the famed California program, the Oakland Soldiers, Morrow scored 53 points in one game and his mixtape blew up. Morrow was considered one of the best players in middle school basketball.
In seventh grade Morrow had another one of his mixtapes blow up when he played at the John Lucas Camp. During the same year, Morrow and Kyree Walker were called the best duo in the country while they were playing for the Oakland Soldiers.
Morrow was routinely dunking in games and he was dominating everyone he played. Going into ninth grade Morrow was a participant in Team USA camps. At this point, however, others were catching up to him physically and Morrow really started to fall off and lose recognition.
Morrow played for Shadow Mountain High School and he played there for four years. Even though he had a good high school career Morrow doesn’t have any college interest according to 247Sports.
The biggest reason for Morrow’s fall is the fact that he only grew two inches from when he was in sixth grade.