The Circuit released it’s 2023 rankings for HS hoopers from across the country on 1/7/22.  2023 UCONN commit Stephon Castle and 2023 Indiana commit Jakai Newton out of Newton High in Covington, GA are ranked 80 & 81 with a 4-Star rating. We won’t be surprised if these two end up in the top 25 when it’s all said and done.

2023 Jakai Newton celebrates during their Championship game against Beaumont United (TX) during the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic. Jakai dropped 25 points and grabbed 7rebs in the ‘Chip and was named Tourney MVP. Image by Popscout.

6’3 CG Jakai Newton put in work during the 2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic (Jan 6-8, 2022), coming away with the Tournament MVP.  He was super-special during the ‘Chip, bully-balling his way into the lane for viscous finishes as well as showing an old school style of play with his ball fakes, jab steps, and ability to hit shots from mid-range to beyond the arc.  He showed great prowess on the defensive end of the court, locking down defenders and wreaking havoc for opposing PG’s.  As he continues to polish his ball handling, passing, and vocal leadership, he will be instant success for Coach Mike Woodson and the Indiana Hoosiers.

What more could you ask for in a player? Stephon Castle, at 6’6, does so many things on the court for his ball club, he’s a true handyman with craftsmanship to back up his work.  He was the rock for Newton County HS as they won 4 games in a 3 day span during the Allstate Nat’l Perp Classic.  Steph’ has all the attributes to be a special player at the next level…and then some.  Not only does he run the PG at 6’6, he also can play positions 2-4 effectively and with swag. He’s an excellent shooter, which will come in handy when he needs to play off the ball.  Poise is his mantra, the kid never gets rattled, continuing to put the team on his back – night in and night out.  As he becomes a more vocal leader on the court and continues to develop his all-around knowledge of the game, UCONN is getting a gem and instant impact player at the next level.

We’ll be keeping an eye out on the rankings as we head into the GHSA playoffs and the UAA Summer AAU circuit.  These two will have breakout summers and skyrocket up the charts.

About The Editor
Popscout is from the Crenshaw High School family in Los Angeles, CA playing under legendary HC Willie West (ran PG for the only #1 team in the nation Crenshaw ever had in 1988).  He went on to play D2 ball at Cal State Los Angeles where he led the conference in assists and steals as a senior (1992). He holds a BA degree in TV/Film and played briefly in Mexico before finding a passion in education and teaching.  He started scouting games in Los Angeles 10 years ago before moving to Georgia in 2009.  Having played the highest level of basketball on the HS circuit in California and being a true gym rat that stays in the gym, he’s developed an eye for detail and can spot HS talent in his sleep.

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