SHAWNEE – After a year away from the game, Jordan Newby is looking to make up for lost time.
The 6-foot-4 small forward from Topeka West did not play as a sophomore after earning valuable time as a freshman.
“I feel that because I’ve had some time off I’ve had some time to think and be in the weight room a lot more than everybody else and come back stronger,” Newby said.
Newby played in 17 games, starting nine, as a freshman averaging 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds a game for the Chargers and his 48 points scored were the most by a Topeka freshman. He cited issues with grades as why he did not play as a sophomore as the Chargers finished 7-14.
“It was very tough having to watch them play,” Newby said.
This summer, Newby has been in the gym working his way back and has been busy playing on travel teams. He played with the Topeka Lakers for most of the summer and was with the Top City 16U team this weekend at the Sunflower Showcase.
“All in all I’ve just been working over the summer trying to get in the weight room as much as I can,” Newby said. “I’m trying to get stronger and be able to shoot a lot better and be more consistent.”
Newby was Top City’s best player of the tournament leading the team in scoring and was second in rebounding through their first three games solidifying himself as one of the top 2016 prospects in Topeka.
His best performance of the tournament came when he led the team to a 38-24 win over the F3 Fire with a team-high 11 points, all in the second half, and eight rebounds. His second half surge helped the team overcome a nine-point first half.
“I just got in a shooting rhythm and I felt pretty good on my shots,” Newby said. “Everything was falling for me so I just kept shooting.”
Newby will be a part of a new-look Chargers squad that will be looking to replace four starters. Senior point guard Adrian Aguilar, junior guard TC Smith, and senior center Josh Reynolds are likely candidates to be in the starting lineup along with Newby.
Reynolds is the only returning starter while Aguilar is the only other player on the team that played in at least 10 games last year.
“We’re pretty excited about our team coming up next year because we have a couple shooters and we actually have chemistry going that they didn’t have there last year,” Newby said.
Newby has a close bond with Smith, whom he played with this summer with the Lakers and Top City.
“We’ve been friends ever since we were in middle school,” Newby said. “I’ve watched him grow ever since our freshman year and he’s starting to become a very good ballhandler, he just needs to work on it a little bit more.”
His junior season is still months away, but he already has a goal in mind:
“At least 15 wins and make it to the playoffs,” Newby said.