Newman incoming freshman Christopher Lockett Jr. has the potential to be one of the nation’s top prospects in the 2023 class.
The 6-foot-3 guard graduated from Arthur Ashe Middle School in mid-May and got his first action as a member of the Greenies during summer league action this past June. While he had never played in a high school sanctioned event, Lockett Jr.’s reputation preceded him as he was being double and sometimes triple-teamed during a handful of games, particularly against Karr where the physical play resulted in multiple rips in the young prospect’s jersey.
Opposing teams were able to hone in even more on Lockett Jr. with the absence of top 2021 prospect Javon Ruffin, who sustained a knee injury in June that kept him out of summer league action.
“Javon’s going provide a lot of stability for (Lockett Jr.) and teach him how to play at this level,” Newman coach Randy Livingston explained. “Not that (Lockett Jr.’s) going to have any issues, but I think with him being out there
by himself, he got a taste of how everyone’s going to come after him. It’s different than middle school. He’s got a name, he’s got to come to play every night, and I think for the most part he did that.”
As expected, Lockett Jr. was still adjusting to playing with new teammates and figuring out how to be productive on the high school level, but he showed flashes of his potential throughout various games.
During this past spring and summer, Lockett Jr. competed with Houston Hoops on the grassroots circuit and re-affirmed his status as a top-10 prospect in the country. He checked in at No. 8 in the recently updated Naismith National Youth All-American Report, which has LeBron James Jr. as the top-ranked 2023 player in the nation.
Following his graduation from Arthur Ashe, Lockett Jr. said he takes basketball seriously and doesn’t do much outside of working to improve his game.
“I’m really in the gym 24/7,” said Lockett Jr., who cited an NBA legend as the inspiration to his basketball aspirations. “I watched Kobe (Bryant) and his love for the game and his mentality. I looked up to how he loved winning and getting championships for the Lakers.”
Lockett Jr. will also be in good hands under the tutelage of one of the state’s most respected and legendary figures in Livingston, a former 10-year NBA veteran and coach who spent his collegiate career at LSU after prepping at Newman himself.
Summer league at McDonogh 35 provided the two with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with each other while seeing how Lockett Jr. would fit into Livingston’s system.
“We’re expecting (Lockett Jr.) to play an integral role on the team,” Livingston said. “But there’s still a lot of things for him to learn, he’s still young, but he’s willing to work and get better. That’s all I ask for.”