Clemson officially extended an offer to a Class of 2023 combo guard from Newton High School on July 14.
Jakai Newton was on his way to the local park to get some shots. That’s when the Covington (Ga.) native received a call from Antonio Reynolds-Dean.
Clemson’s assistant coach asked Newton: “Can you see yourself in a Clemson jersey,” Newton said.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” he replied.
Then Reynolds Dean proceeded to offer Newton his official scholarship offer from Clemson.
“I was just really grateful,” Newton said. “I was just like ‘wow,’ I’m really thankful.”
Reynolds Dean first reached out to Newton on July 7, so their relationship couldn’t exactly be characterized as extensive. They’ve been keeping in contact back-and-forth since then. Reynolds Dean has informed Newton that Clemson is only an hour away from his hometown and things of that nature.
“When I was on the phone with him, he seemed like a real cool guy,” Newton said. “I definitely want to get to meet him more, build a relationship.”
Newton said the relationship is just getting started, but he’s looking forward to building that connection with Reynolds Dean and the remainder of Clemson’s coaching staff as time goes on.
Newton has to familiarize himself with Clemson’s way of running things, but he knows that he wants to play in a system where he can be aggressive on both ends of the court, he said.
“I would describe myself as a three-level scorer, who can play defense,” Newton added.
When looking for a school at the next level, some of those more important factors that Newton is looking for are within the confines of the classroom.
“A really good business program,” he said. “Anywhere with good academics too.”
Newton’s recruitment has absolutely taken off this summer, culminating in multiple offers from Power 5 programs. He now holds offers from Auburn, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Indiana, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Tulane, and Xavier, in addition to Clemson.
He’s only been to Auburn for a camp and took an unofficial to Georgia. Newton wants to take more visits in August, with Clemson potentially being one of them, as it’s only an hour away.
Newton models his game after Washington Wizards all-star guard Russell Westbrook, who is his favorite player. Newton carries himself similarly, playing with that same level of high intensity, but notes that he can definitely get better at it.