For the second time in four months, class of 2024 5-star forward Asa Newell was in Bloomington for a visit, this time for a long weekend with the whole family.
The energy on the IU campus was a bit different this time with the students in town.
And seemingly everyone knew who the 6-foot-10 Montverde Academy product was.
That was one of the main things that stood out to the Newell family.
“The number one thing, is it’s a basketball school, and the response from Hoosier Nation was overwhelming on social media, and even during our visit everybody knew who he was, whether we were at a restaurant or walking down the sidewalk,” Newell’s father Justin told The Daily Hoosier.
“Everyone was very encouraging, telling Asa to come to campus and be a Hoosier.”
Those zealous fans know who Newell is because they know he can help them win.
And with Indiana about to commence a promising season ranked No. 13 nationally, the focus on winning came through from head coach Mike Woodson during the visit as well. That’s a message that matters to the Newell family.
— Asa Newell (@NewellAsa) October 26, 2022
“I like the fact that he (Woodson) has a deep desire to win,” Justin Newell said. “That’s really important to us.”
The elder Newell also liked getting to know Woodson on a personal level.
“Coach Woodson, he’s a real guy, he’s a leader on and off the court,” he said. “He has the ability to pour into people around him. We had just about every meal with him, and I was able to meet his wife. It was a real treat to get to spend so much time with him. We talked about basketball, and many other things not related to basketball. I really respect his experience as a coach and former player.”
Ranked in the top-10 in his class and playing at Montverde, Asa has realistic ambitions to reach the NBA, especially with a frame and skillset coveted by the league.
It wasn’t lost on the family that Woodson’s background as an NBA player and coach has uniquely positioned him to help IU players get to the next level.
“It’s great that he’s well connected,” Justin said. “Even as we were sitting in practice there were a couple scouts watching. He’s been there, he’s done that, he’s experienced. He knows the NBA game. I think that he, along with his coaching staff, would be able to mold Asa into the right kind of player who would be attractive to the NBA.”
What does the family pay attention to when it comes to how a college program is utilizing its big men?
“Being able to have freedom to showcase their ability and skillsets. Being on the perimeter, handling the ball, rebound and go fast paced basketball. Asa can really run the floor well, and we want to see a system that fits in the direction that he’s going,” Justin said.
The elder Newell said Indiana “for sure” did what they needed to do on the visit to remain a contender in his son’s recruitment.
But IU was just his second official visit, following Georgia where his older brother plays. The family is from Athens, Ga. and has deep connections there.
The bottom line — this is a recruitment still in its relatively early stages.
“I wouldn’t anticipate Asa committing anywhere soon unless something just hits him in the face and it’s a revelation to him,” Justin said.
What factors will ultimately be determinative?
“The decision is his,” Justin said. “We’ll give him our input, but ultimately it’s going to be up to him. He’s got goals and dreams, and I think it’s going to come down to the school that’s the right system, has the right development, and provides the right opportunity to get to where he wants to go.
“Winning is important, and the success of the future recruiting classes as well. We want Asa to be around, and Asa wants to be around players that are going to be able to facilitate and compete at a high level.”
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