Basketball, Profiles, Sports

Ja’Quan Newton embraces role as floor general

Last season, junior guard Ja’Quan Newton made himself known as one of the best sixth men in the country, averaging over 10 points per game off the bench for the Miami Hurricanes. This season, Newton has been taking on a bigger role in more ways than one.

Newton has replaced former Hurricane Ángel Rodríguez as the starting point guard; Rodríguez led the team in assists and was second in scoring last season. Miami has high expectations for Newton, who is transitioning from being a combo, score-first guard to a more traditional point guard.

“They are two very different kinds of players,” Head Coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Ángel was a guy who could penetrate and pitch, but was also a very good three-point shooter. Ja’Quan is really an attack guy, he really like to get into the paint, which is going to be helpful for the team’s performance.”

The 6-foot-2 guard from Philadelphia is known for his aggressive style on offense. Newton gets to the rim with relentless drive and is able to finish strong at the basket. Even when he doesn’t convert on the shot, he is often able to draw fouls to get to the free-throw line.

“I don’t force anything,” Newton said. “I have the mindset that no one can guard me, so I’ll take what the defense gives me.”

Even with his clear scoring ability, Newton has a new approach to the game this year: getting his teammates involved.

“Ja’Quan will continue to penetrate the defense, but he has done a great job creating shots for others,” senior guard and captain Davon Reed said. “Over the summer, the biggest thing for him was about taking on that leadership role as the third captain of the team and not having any off days from a leading perspective.”

Knowing that the team features four freshmen, Newton has been using his experience to set the path for the younger players and now embraces being a leader on the team behind Reed and redshirt senior forward and co-captain Kamari Murphy.

“I wasn’t the person to be vocal last season,” Newton said. “This year, I’ve really been working on that. Especially with the new guys, if they do something wrong, I tell them that they can correct it. If they need help, I’m here.”

Newton has shown improvements in both his shooting and his physical strength, much of which he credits to his training over the summer. He came into this season weighing 191 pounds, six pounds heavier than his starting weight the previous year. Newton plans to continue to use this to his advantage as he fights through the game-to-game contact that comes with being a starting guard in the NCAA.

“The transition is a little different because teams are more focused on you now,” Newton said. “Teams are going to focus their scouting reports on you.”

His individual statistics are expected to rise this season, and he will receive more attention from the media and fans, but there is only one thing that matters to Newton.

“I just want to win,” Newton said. “The more my team wins, the recognition will come with it.”

November 16, 2016

Reporters

Isaiah Kim-Martinez

Isaiah Kim-Martinez can be reached at @isaiah_km.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

When Al Golden recruited David Njoku to the University of Miami in 2014 the Cedar Grove, N.J. native ...

The night after FIU gave away a game to the University of Miami with a ninth-inning passed ball that ...

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Allison left the University of Miami football program on Tuesday. ...

Closer Frankie Bartow stared into the Panthers’ dugout immediately after fanning the final batter of ...

Go ahead. Try telling former University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya that his critics say he gets ...

UM marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with a reading of names and recollections of a survivor. ...

A recent paper argues that not only have researchers just scratched the surface of analyzing the Ama ...

The period of the first 100 days in office is a telling gauge for a president's full term in th ...

UM students, staff and faculty join the worldwide march to end men’s violence against women. ...

Greek Week at the University of Miami is committed to raising money and awareness for United Cerebra ...

Images from @CanesMensTennis match against Duke. ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team came up short against No. 34 Duke University, 4-1, Th ...

Images from @CanesMensTennis win over Boston College. ...

Sinead Lohan and Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team were both among the ni ...

The fourth-seeded Miami women's tennis team is set to open ACC Championship play Friday afterno ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.