Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

HANDLE THE HYPE

Julian “Handles” Newman is an 11 year old 5th grader at the Downey Christian School in Orlando, Florida. He is the starting point guard for the Downey varsity basketball team. His dad, Jamie Newman, the coach and a  teacher at Downey, put a video of his son on youtube that went viral. Through a carefully crafted exploitation and marketing scheme, Julian has been hyped as the new child sensation for basketball. Local Orlando media went crazy for the pint sized point guard. Then the national media from ESPN to Conan to Steve Harvey took it to the next level and have featured and interviewed the hottest child athlete since Tiger Woods.

The problem … it’s all false. The stats, the standings, the rankings are all fictious and made up by his coach dad.

Conan O’Brien asked the young Julian about his school’s record. He said it was 22-5. WRONG. Downey Christian School was removed from sanctioned competition by the SCL (Sonshine Christian League) for various violations. Eligibility of other team mates has been brought into question by outside skeptics. Julian’s dad is an AAU coach as well as a director of a youth basketball program in Central Florida. Downey entered the 2012-2013 season with a completely new tean from Julian on up. Mr. Newman has reported wins by forfeit to MaxPrep.com (a site that anyone with an account can report any unsubstantiated stats – like wikipedia). That means that 14 of Downey’s alleged wins are by forfeit and not actual play. Those “forfeits” are to the SCL member schools now prohibited from playing Downey because of disciplinary action. To claim them as victories is false, misleading, and fraud.

In an interview Julian’s dad said his son is the first 5th grade ever to play at the varsity level in the nation. WRONG. First, many private and Christian schools for many, many years have had to use elementary age student athletes to have enough players to field a team at the varsity level. I personally know many student athletes who competed in varsity programs who were Julian’s age and grade when they began. Second, varsity level has a different meaning within private school competition than the public school arena. By age and classification of grade level it may be called “varsity” within the small private school world but in the reality of skill level and ability to compete … many small, independent schools would actually be classified as modified or JV within the context of proper identification for competition outside of their sphere.

Conan O’Brien also claimed on his TBS talk show that Julian is number one in the state of Florida in assists as a point guard. Based on what source? Other than his dad’s bloated and unsubstantiated stats to MaxPrep.com what varification of these stats are the media producers at ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC, ABC, Fox Orlando, New York Times, Huffington Post, Conan, or Steve Harvey using to make these claims about Julian? juliannewman

If a point guard from a small community college was reported to have 30 assists per game while the point guard for Kentucky had 10 assists are we to believe that the guard from the small college has superior skills and stats? NO. We would put into perspective based on the competition level.

Who in the media has done that perspective with Julian? Have they even watched a full game of his against an actual varsity team? Most of his “game” footage is either practice or edited video from a game against a moderate team at best.

His stats have never been verified or authenticated by any credible source.

Jamie Newman has also said, “He (Julian) has moves that NBA players don’t have. He does stuff that has never been done before.” Really? Hmmmm

While his father and the media celebrate and praise this young man and laud his play there is one thing that is missing … Julian. While kids love attention and Julian seems to enjoy the spotlight … what kind of pressure is this for him? What if he fails? What if he suffers a game ending injury? Adult athletes have problems coping after losing it all. This boy’s whole world has been built on his talent for a game. What if that next level NEVER happens?

This hype in my opinion is a form of abuse. Yes, I said abuse. Downey is obviously happy to reap the financial reward of perspective new tuition paying students Julian’s publicity is bringing to the school. Dad will get offers while he continues to craft tweets, web exposure, media marketing for his son. I wonder what agent he’s calling?

The media is just as guilty. Reading from hand out talking points NO ONE asked simple questions like: what’s the competition level of this program … what other schools do you play … what titles have you actually won … how many championships do you have … is your team in the state play off’s … do you actually play sanctioned games in any league of any kind????? No titles. No classification. No ranking. Just hype and dribbling stunts.

While I applaud this young man’s love for the game and his skill level for his age … in complete honesty he is at best a work in progress. Why the rush? Why the push? Just let him develop naturally and enjoy each stage of life and the game. When he falls … Conan won’t be calling. When his stats are authenticated … ESPN will delete his videos.

Then what’s left? A confused boy who was pushed, promoted, and pimped by the very people who were supposed to be there to protect, provide, and guide him.

DRIVE 5 LOGORead the next article HOOPS & HYPE https://martybraemer.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/hoops-or-hype/

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