College coaches try to get in on the top recruits as early as possible, but the University of Miami may have taken things to a new extreme with its recruitment of a pint-sized basketball sensation in Orlando.
The U’s women’s basketball coaching staff recently began recruiting Jaden Newman of Downey Christian School in Central Florida. Jaden is also just nine-years-old and is believed to be the youngest girl’s player ever recruited by a Division I program, according to NBCNews.com.
Jaden, standing 4 foot 7 inches tall, averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 assits per game last year while playing against teenagers. Her brother Julian, 12, also played on the Downey Christian varsity boys team as a sixth-grader this year.
UM is the only school to recruit Jaden, who won’t be graduating from high school for almost another decade. But, Jaden has already received her official recruiting letter and taken an unofficial visit to the school last week.
"I liked the whole campus," Jaden told NBC 6's Gilma Avalos. "I liked the basketball court."
USC made news last year when it offered a scholarship to a seventh-grader from Delaware. The Trojans also received a verbal commitment from a California receiver who was just starting his freshman year of high school.
Jaden’s father said his daughter’s dream is to play for the University of Connecticut Huskies who have dominated women’s college basketball in recent years.
Jaden also said that, much to the disappointment of Heat fans, she was rooting for the Spurs, but that she does "like LeBron."
Still, her dad said it's way too early to guess where she might go to school saying Jaden's very much still a kid.