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Bouncing back: Caleb Newman leads Red Wolves in points, rebounds after last year’s injury

Scores from TFS, TFN, and Marian Catholic

By Mike Clark

TF South

LANSING, Ill. (January 11, 2022) – Caleb Newman hasn’t had the best of luck as he chases his dream of playing college basketball. The pandemic delayed and shortened his sophomore season, and then a knee injury cost him court time last season.

But the TF South guard is back healthy and enjoying a big senior season while showcasing his game for college recruiters. Newman leads the Red Wolves in scoring (14.4 points a game) and rebounds (4.7 per game), is tied for first in steals (2.5 per game) and tied for third in assists (2.3 per game).

He scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Thursday’s 68-63 home win over Evergreen Park. That was part of a balanced offensive output for the Red Wolves (8-7, 4-2 South Suburban Blue). Romello Ali scored 17, Marqell Wilson had 12 points, and Daetwan Thomas had nine points, all in the final six minutes of the game.

For the six-foot-one Newman, it was the latest in a series of good performances in his comeback season.

Back from injury

“That injury last year when I tore my meniscus, it hurt because I was feeling good, I was hot, I was starting to get some looks,” Newman said. “It kind of all went downhill from there.”

But Newman understood the worst thing to do after an injury like that was to try to come back too soon. So hard as it was, he remained patient and trusted the recovery process.

“Took my time, made sure I was OK,” he said. “Once I got my OK from the doctor, I was right back in the gym.”

He was cleared to return to action the week before his Amateur Athletic Union team’s first tournament last spring.

“AAU started off slow for me,” he said. “My spring was ‘eh.’ When summer came though, that’s when I felt good. I started getting my rhythm back. That’s kind of when those (college) looks came back, over the summer circuit.”

This year at TFS, next year in college

Right now, Newman has three offers from NCAA Division III programs: Benedictine, North Park and Wisconsin-Platteville. He also has serious interest from Division II Illinois-Springfield. The goal is to make a college choice soon, before the end of the high school season.

In the meantime, Newman is playing a starring role for a Red Wolves team that looks different from last year. With six-foot-six Xavier Lewis now playing for Division II University of Mary (N.D.), coach Todd Gillespie has been using a five-guard starting lineup.

“Caleb is a better shooter even than he was last year,” Gillespie said. “He’s doing a lot more on defense, he’s getting more deflections and steals, which is what we need from him. Because he’s a target this year — everyone knows who he is, knows how well he can shoot. (He’s) one of the best shooters in the state.”

Newman believes he’s a more complete offensive player this season.

“I feel like I really improved my off-the-dribble stuff,” he said. “Last year, I was spot up, catch and shoot. This year with the big man gone we’re running five guards. I’m trying to get downhill, handle the ball, because at the next level I’m gonna have to play the 1 (point guard).”

Girls basketball

The Red Wolves (18-4, 5-1 South Suburban Blue) won their third in a row on Thursday, 54-37 over host Evergreen Park.

Rayvan Rush and Tariya Wright each scored 14 for South and Rush added three assists. Also contributing were Kaitlynn Williams-Clark (8 points, 7 steals), Jaiden Thompson (7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Gigi Dillon (7 points, 7 rebounds).

Girls bowling

The Red Wolves moved to 6-4 with a 1,589-1,495 road win over Argo on Thursday.

Abby Kleidon (367, 195) and Trinity Kimmons (352, 183) had South’s high series and games.

TF North

TF North

Boys basketball

The Meteors are 10-2 overall and 6-0 in the South Suburban Blue after beating Shepard 82-39 at home on Tuesday and Bremen 66-28 on the road on Thursday.

Jayden Small led four North scorers in double figures on Tuesday with 32 points. Jevon Warren added 19, Chris Cook scored 14 and Chase Abraham had 11.

Abraham led the way against Bremen with 23 points, Small scored 19 and Warren added 16.

Marian Catholic

Marian Catholic

Girls basketball

The Spartans (16-3, 1-1 East Suburban Catholic) won their ninth in a row on Wednesday, 50-29 over visiting Marist. Madison Davis scored 29 for Marian and LaParis Poe added nine points.


Mike Clark
Mike Clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.