Q&A with South Whidbey boys basketball player Kody Newman

Newman is the youngest of 7 basketball-playing siblings, and wants to be a firefighter.

South Whidbey senior Kody Newman drives for a layup during a Jan. 11 North Sound Conference game at Cedar Park Christian in Bothell. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

South Whidbey senior Kody Newman drives for a layup during a Jan. 11 North Sound Conference game at Cedar Park Christian in Bothell. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Kody Newman “does it all” for the South Whidbey boys basketball team, according to Falcons coach Michael Washington.

“He can score, defend, rebound and pass,” Washington said. “He’s feisty and competitive. He doesn’t back down from anybody, and he gives everything he has all the time.”

Newman, a senior, is a rare five-sport prep athlete — he’s also played football, baseball, soccer and tennis during his time at South Whidbey.

The Herald recently spoke with Newman about his basketball career, other interests and future plans:

How long have you been playing basketball?

I’m the youngest of seven siblings who were always playing basketball, so as soon as I could walk my dad put a ball in my hands. I remember going out to the back deck and (my siblings) would be shooting and I’d rebound for them, and after awhile they’d lower the hoop so I could shoot.

What motivates you to succeed?

My older siblings. I try to keep the family name alive. The Newmans have a big reputation on the island for basketball. Seven years ago my brother Riley scored 46 points in a game, and my dad is always telling me that I should try to (top that). Earlier this season I scored 30 in back-to-back games, so I’m getting there.

How have you benefited from playing five high school sports?

I’ve met so many kids at the school that I never would’ve met otherwise. I got bigger from playing football and baseball, and learned footwork skills from soccer and tennis. My parents never told me to focus on basketball. I have never regretted (playing five sports) once. I’ve learned a lot of different things from those sports that I’ve used in basketball.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’d like to play (basketball) somewhere. I’ll try for a community college, then maybe transfer to a four-year (school). Right now I’m in an internship program at Sno-Isle (Tech Skills Center) in Mukilteo for firefighting, so I want to make sure that whatever college I go to has a firefighting program.

How did you become interested in firefighting?

My brother and sisters live in Los Angeles, and one of my sisters had to evacuate her home after the latest fire. That hit me hard about how fires affect people. Instead of sitting on the couch, I’d rather be out there spraying down fires, being among the first responders. I think it’s a great way to give back to the community and help people in a selfless manner.

Are you involved in any other school clubs or activities?

I was in the school choir this past year, which was a lot of fun. A lot of people were surprised to see me on stage. I’m in Key Club, which is a community volunteer program. I also volunteer to officiate youth baseball and basketball games for the (South Whidbey) Parks and Recreation department.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I’m a big Mariners fan, so my friends and I like to go to Mariners games and AquaSox games. Living on an island, there’s lots of beaches around, so I like to climb the bluff and go wakeboarding in the summer. There’s lots of good trails around here, so I’ll take my dog out for runs and hikes. There’s a lot of fun things to do in nature, and I like being outdoors.

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