She's Can't Drive, But This Basketball Prodigy Kills It On The Court

by
Lauren Burgoon
She's called a basketball phenom, but is 9-year-old Jaden Newman the latest child athlete recruited much too young?

She's not old enough to drive and fourth-grade homework is probably still hassling her, but Jaden Newman could have her college plans in the bag soon.

Jaden, 9, is a basketball prodigy and so talented that she plays varsity high school ball with a highlight clip that astonishes, considering her young age. 

The University of Miami already took notice, beginning a recruitment process to get Jaden in orange, green and white when she's ready for college. 

Miami -- a Division I school -- is going full-court press to snag Jaden young. Recruitment for normal college players usually doesn't start before athletes are in high school. 

Jaden is hardly the first young athlete recruited for the big show, and she certainly proves she has the chops -- just check out this highlight reel.

But how young is too young? Colleges and especially professional teams are targeting child athletes younger and younger. 

Freddy Adu was just 14 when he became the youngest athlete to sign a professional contract in the United States to play soccer with D.C. United. Like Jaden, Adu was hailed as a prodigy. Now 25, usually the prime age for professional athletes, Adu is bouncing around clubs. 

At least Adu was able to talk and had his two-year-old molars. A couple of other soccer clubs are robbing the cradle with their recruits.

There's Bryce Brites, 20 months, signed to Belgian club FC Racing Boxberg. And not to be outdone, a Dutch club signed 18-month-old Baerke van der Meij to a 10-year contract, though he presumably couldn't even hold a pen.