All Malik Newman wanted was to be able to surprise everybody with his college commitment. But thanks to that muddling Gary Parrish at CBS Sports, everybody already knew Newman was heading to Mississippi State well before he made it official during a Friday afternoon announcement ceremony.
Newman, who earlier this week unconvincingly denied the report that he had already decided on Starkville, picked the Bulldogs over Kentucky, Kansas and Ole Miss.
There's no doubt about it: Newman is a huge get for the recently-hired Ben Howland. In the span of a few weeks, State has landed a former UCLA head coach and the No. 4 prospect in the country. Given that State doesn't have much in the way of returning talent, and given that Newman will probably be one-and-done, it's debatable whether his commitment will result in a dramatic spike in wins next season (though you should never undervalue the impact of a star player in basketball). But what it will most definitely do is raise the profile of the program.
And for any Rebel fans pulling the ole "we didn't want him anyway!!1":