EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The UConn Huskies had their 2022 season ended at the hands of a team from the Borderland. Their solution to prevent another early NCAA Tournament exit comes from the same region.
Former Burges High School basketball star Tristen Newton committed to transfer to Dan Hurley’s Huskies on Wednesday morning. Newton, who spent his first three seasons of college basketball at East Carolina, will have two years of eligibility remaining at UConn, where he will get the chance to prove himself in the Big East, a Power-6 conference.
The cousin of Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, Newton made the announcement on his social media pages.
“I want to thank my family, friends and all the coaches who have recruited me. With that being said, I will be committing to UCONN!” Newton wrote in a post on Twitter.
Newton was an impact player over the last three seasons at ECU and had a breakout campaign in 2021-22. Newton averaged 17.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5 assists per game this past season, starting all 30 of the Pirates’ games. He led the team in scoring and assists and was third on the team in rebounds and steals.
He split time in the starting lineup and coming off the bench as a freshman in 2019-20, averaging 11 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. His scoring and rebounding numbers dipped during the 2020-21 COVID season, as Newton averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds, however, his assists saw an uptick that season, rising to 4.2 per game.
Hurley’s UConn squad lost to New Mexico State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last month, as Teddy Allen dropped 37 points to lead the Aggies to their first March Madness win in 29 years. Newton will likely now be asked to come in and replace RJ Cole in the starting point guard role, in hopes of leading the Huskies back to prominence the next two seasons.
One of the best players to come out of El Paso in recent years, Newton averaged almost 40 points per game as a senior at Burges in 2018-19 and eclipsed 3,000 career points in February, 2019.
Despite those gaudy numbers, Newton was lightly recruited coming out of high school. He received just five Division I scholarship offers: Delaware State, East Carolina, Evansville (where his brother, Jawaun Newton, plays), Northeastern and UTRGV. He received late interest from Kansas State and New Mexico State, but the Aggies and Wildcats never offered him.
However, the Division I program that plays its games just 15 minutes from Newton’s high school – the UTEP Miners – never showed much interest in recruiting him. Neither Tim Floyd, nor Rodney Terry, ever extended a scholarship offer to the 3,000-point scorer, or his brother, while he was in high school.
The Miners missed out and while sources told KTSM that current UTEP coach Joe Golding made an effort to get Newton to return home, he made the decision to go play in the Big East. Interestingly enough, Newton will be playing for a former Miner at UConn.
Kimani Young, who played for UTEP in the 1990s, is the Huskies’ associate head coach. It’s certainly possible that his ties to El Paso helped the Huskies land Newton this time around.
While Tristen Newton has made his decision, his brother, Jawaun, is still in the NCAA Transfer Portal. Jawaun averaged 12.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 2021-22 at Evansville and will be a graduate transfer.
Sources have told KTSM that Golding and UTEP are interested in bringing the other Newton brother home to the Sun City to finish his college career. However, he has yet to make his decision.