Meet Julian Newman: at 4-foot-5 and (I’m assuming) 10 years old, he’s practically half the size and age of some of the players he’s competing against for the Downey Christian (Orlando) High School varsity basketball team. Downey is a small independent school that is not governed by the Florida High School Athletic Association, as most larger schools are. Thus, hobbits in varsity basketball.
But this is no joke. Aside from some very comical defensive matchups, Julian actually looks like he belongs on the floor with the older players. Nicknamed “Handles”, the kid runs the point with aplomb, has a nice outside shot and is a terrific passer. I watched the video below and can’t understand why the opposing team doesn’t score every time on out-of-bounds plays — seeing that Downey seems to play man-to-man on those. Are you smarter than a fifth-grader, opposing coaches?
Julian is coached by his father, Jamie Newman, at the Orlando school. And if you’re wondering about the legality of all this, apparently it’s kosher. A person gets four years of eligibility in high school basketball in Florida, and if you want to use them all up by the time you’re in the eighth grade, you can do that. You just can’t repeat a grade. (Update: apparently you can get more than four years, if you start young like Julian).(Read More)