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Archive for Friday, January 31, 1992

EX-JAYHAWK NEWTON WILL PLAY IN AUSTRALIA

January 31, 1992

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Fast food restaurants on 23rd Street, the campanile and hordes of students are some of the sights Milt Newton sees every day.

However, after Saturday, they'll become memories for the former Kansas basketball standout. Newton is leaving to join the East Melbourne Spectres, a professional team in Australia.

"I don't know much about Australia, but I know that it's a big continent. People have told me that it's very beautiful. And I know that it's where Crocodile Dundee comes from," said Newton, a member of the Jayhawks' 1987-88 NCAA championship team.

Newton signed a one-year contract with the Spectres after joining them in November for three exhibition games against universities in the United States, including KU.

KANSAS COACH Roy Williams recommended Newton for the Spectres' exhibition game with KU when East Melbourne coach Brian Goorjian called in November looking for a perimeter shooter who could run the floor.

Newton came off the bench to grab seven rebounds and score a team-high 16 points in the Spectres' 94-66 loss.

"I felt kind of funny playing in Allen Fieldhouse without a Jayhawk uniform on," Newton said. "I hadn't played any ball since summer, and those were just pickup games. I really wasn't in any shape to be playing against a team like Kansas. That was a very interesting experience for me."

Following that performance, East Melbourne head coach Brian Goorjian asked Newton to join the Spectres. Newton agreed to play in the Spectres' two remaining exhibition games, but declined to join the team permanently in order to complete his masters degree in sports administration at KU.

However, after consulting with his father, roommate Mark Turgeon, and Williams, Newton decided to accept the Spectres' offer.

"I WANTED to play ball, and I've needed a break from school. So I decided to go ahead and do it," Newton said.

Australian teams are allowed to have two Americans on their rosters, and Newton said he was chosen over Lorenzo Charles from North Carolina State, Beau Reid from Nebraska, and Paul Doerrfeld from Iowa State.

Last year, former Oklahoma standout Ricky Grace won the league's MVP award and led his team to the league championship over East Melbourne.

"Coach Goorjian told me I could come down there and be the kind of player who would dominate. It doesn't matter where I'm playing. I know I'll play hard," Newton said.

Newton plans to finish work on his masters degree when he returns next year. He said he only has two chapters remaining on his thesis, and must take a final examination to earn the degree.

"I'll definitely be back to Lawrence," he said. "It's harder than a lot of people think to leave Lawrence. I've been here since 1984. It's a great place and I've made some very close friends here."

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