Former UTM basketball standout Jared Newson is putting his athletic ability on display overseas. Newson plays for the Leverkusen Bayer Giants of the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) in Germany.
His picture is featured on his team’s website banner. A clip of Newson performing a between-the-legs dunk in a German dunk contest can be seen on YouTube.
Newson is originally from Belleville, Ill. He attended Forest Park Community College in St. Louis before transferring to UTM in 2003.
He was second in the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring this past season, averaging 18.8 points per game. He also picked up first team all-conference honors.
After graduation, Newson participated in the NBA’s Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“European ball is very different,” Newson said.
“It’s way more physical and hard to drive to the hole because of the wide free throw lane and the help side with these big players.
Europeans play with more fundamentals and they can all shoot.”
Newson is still making adjustments to the European rules.
“If the ball is on the rim, you can smack it off and it’s not goal tending,” Newson said. “You have to put the ball on the floor first before you take a step or it’s traveling.”
Newson is not just adjusting to the different rules of the European game but to the cultural differences as well. Playing with other Americans has made the change easier. Seven of Newson’s teammates are from the United States.
Newson is averaging 9.6 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game for his German team.
“My first four games were learning experiences and I didn’t even score double figures but the last game I scored 22 points and had four steals,” Newson said.
“With any new level it takes a minute to adjust but now it’s all about applying what I have been learning and putting in the work.”
Newson’s ultimate goal is to play in the NBA but he wants to show that he can play at a high level in whatever league he is a part of.
“It’s all about playing my game. I’m an athletic player that can play defense and score and now I have to make a name for myself on the international level,” Newson said.
He will have a great opportunity to make a name for himself when he participates in his league’s all-star break dunk contest in January.
“I have to put those first couple of games behind me and move forward,” Newson said.
The 2006-07 Skyhawk basketball season tips off on Thursday when the women’s team takes on Kentucky Wesleyan in an exhibition game at 6 p.m. at the Elam Center.
The men’s team will play an exhibition game Mon., Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. against the Bethel Wildcats.