Meet The Future Of The WNBA

by Alicia Lu

The newest force on the basketball court who everyone is buzzing about is just 4'7", and only nine years old. Basketball star Jaden Newman just finished the fourth grade, but was already the starting point guard for a high school varsity team — and now she's leaping forward a few more years because the University of Miami is trying to recruit her. Have we mentioned she's nine years old?

In January, Newman made headlines for schooling former NFL star Trevor Pryce on the Fox sports show Crowd Goes Wild. Newman dribbled two basketballs through an obstacle course and made a lay-up like it was as easy as sipping iced tea while Pryce struggled and repeatedly lost one of the balls. At the time, she was in fourth grade and playing for Orlando's Downey Christian High School varsity team, averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 assists per game.

This month, Newman received a formal recruiting letter from the University of Miami's girls basketball program. Last week, Newman visited the university's campus to check out the program's facilities. If she accepts and joins, Newman will become the youngest athlete to ever be recruited by a major college program.

Before Newman becomes the next Lisa Leslie, here's everything you need to know about the future of the WNBA...

Why She's a Big Deal

Besides the fact that she's only nine years old (when I was nine I could barely make one basket), Newman exhibits exceptional agility and speed for any age. From the video above, it's easy to see that her jump shots are right on the money, even from behind the three-point line — it can be difficult for grown men in the NBA to make those shots.

The most points she's scored in a game was 63, against the boys on her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. If you're unfamiliar with basketball and what counts as a big deal in the sport, let me give you this little point of reference: The most points LeBron James has ever scored in a single game is 61. LeBron James. In fact, it is such a big deal for a basketball player to score 60 or more points in a single game that there is a Wikipedia page devoted to it. This girl is definitely going on that page eventually.

Her Basketball Roots

Newman told Crowd Goes Wild's Georgie Thompson, Regis Philbin, and Trevor Pryce that she started playing basketball at the age of three. "When I was three years old, my parents put a basketball in my hand," she told the hosts, "and I just loved it ever since."

It seems that a love of basketball runs in the family. Jaden's dad, Jamie Newman, coaches the sport for Downey Christian's boys' and girls' varsity teams. And prodigy status seems to run in the family as well because Jaden's older brother, Julian, also made headlines for playing varsity basketball as a fifth grader.

What She Wants to Become

"She wants to be like Diana Taurasi," Newman's dad told ESPN. "She wants to play for her country, for Connecticut, and in the WNBA." (He also made sure to mention that when she started on the varsity team, she was actually in third grade.)Newman herself has said that she is a big fan of the LA Sparks and that someday she'd like to become just like Candace Parker. Given that she's only 9, she may very well exceed her own idol by the time she's old enough to go pro.

Images: YouTube