LSU makes great strides for Newberry

The longer point guard Jeff Newberry of New Mexico Junior College played pickup games with LSU's returning basketball team he came to a couple of the realizations.
The Tigers are loaded with quality young front court players and it wasn't out of the realm of reality that Newberry could see himself meshing well with that talent.
"I can definitely see the pieces," Newberry said after his official visit to LSU. "During pick up (games) I didn't know what grade who was in and most of the bigs, I didn't realize but they were freshmen. That was a big plus because they played like they were juniors and seniors. Knowing I could come in and play with those types of guys, and also play with Hickey for his senior year, would be pretty scary."
A week after San Bernardino (Calif.) combination guard Gerry Blakes visited LSU the Tigers hosted Newberry, a native of Atlanta. They're also set to host Chicago-Whitney Young guard Myles Reynolds in October.
Blakes decided on Sunday to commit to Arizona State.
For the first time on a visit Newberry was accompanied by his mother, who came away with a newfound respect for LSU.
"It was real good and I'm glad my mom got to experience something like that because she had never been to a college football game before," Newberry said. "She just loved the program overall. It was one of her favorites but it was her first time seeing things like that before."
LSU was the second visit that Newberry's taken, having visited West Virginia in the spring. He's scheduled for an official to Memphis next weekend, Oklahoma State on Oct. 18. with plans for a fifth visit to a school still to be determined.
Newberry plans to sign during the NCAA's early signing period in November.
"They gave me a whole lot to think about," Newberry said. "The visit was just great overall. I just loved the coaching staff and the facilities. They're definitely going to be in my top three when it comes down to it."
Because of their ties to the Atlanta area it was LSU assistant Korey McCray that initiated contact with Newberry, subsequently offering him and maintaining a dialogue that help result in this past weekend's visit.
"We've talked a lot so it kind of felt like I knew him already," Newberry said. "It was great. He's a real down to earth guy. We've had good conversations on the phone and when I met him for the first time in person he was the same person. He's a cool guy. He's younger and I can related to him."
Newberry completed his high school career at Atlanta's Westlake High before attending Mack Prep in Charlotte. He went on to sign with Ole Miss but redshirted and then transferred to Northeast (Okla.) Junior College, averaging 14.8 points and 4.3 assists in only season there.
Newberry will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after this upcoming season at New Mexico Junior College.
With the departure of senior Andre Stringer after this season and Anthony Hickey moving into his senior year in 2014-15, LSU's working on its backcourt of the future to go along with current freshman Tim Quarterman, sophomore Malik Morgan and junior transfer Keith Hornsby.
Because of his size and experience Newberry is regarded as potential key piece in LSU's recruiting class that's still in search its first commitment.
"They're basically looking at me in the area of scoring as far getting everybody involved," Newberry said. "Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey can also score but what sets me apart from them is that I'm a lot taller. I can score just as efficiently and I can also get others involved. That's what coach said he loved about me and me and Hickey playing together would be a good duo in the SEC."
Despite his year at Ole Miss apparently there was a lot more that met Newberry's eye during LSU's home opening 56-17 victory over UAB.
"I loved my first experience of a LSU football game," Newberry said. "That was crazy. I never experienced anything like that. They're crazy over football."
The pick-up games aside, Newberry said he enjoyed getting to know members of the team where Stringer and junior forward Johnny O'Bryant served as his host for the visit.
"It went great, I loved the team," Newberry said. "I loved the coaching staff overall. Coach (Johnny) Jones is a great coach. The players were straight up with me about the whole program which is usually like that in any program. They didn't have any real negatives to say.
"We all went out one night and had a good time," Newberry said. "When we went out to places it surprised me that some people actually knew who I was. They embraced me and wanted me to join the program. All of the players all down to earth guys and pretty much like me so I know I could fit in well."