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Early life and high school career Newsome was born in San Jose, California. He is the second child of Eric, an African-American, and Carmelita (née Duque), a Filipina, who hails from Parañaque. He has an older brother, Eric Jr., and younger sisters Nishelle and Melissa. When the Newsomes moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, he attended his secondary education at Rio Rancho High School. His first sport was baseball and football, but did not play basketball until he reached seventh grade. He helped the Rio Rancho HS Rams win the 5A State Championship in 2007. College career Newsome attended the New Mexico Highlands University, a NCAA Division II school for three years. In his final season with the Cowboys in 2011, he averaged 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per outing. He was recruited by then-Ateneo head coach Norman Black to play for the Blue Eagles and for the Philippine national team that will play for the Southeast Asian Games. He accepted the offer and spent two years of residency (as per UAAP rules for foreign students) before finally seeing action for Ateneo in 2013. In his final season with the Blue Eagles, he posted averages of 14 PPG and 8 RPG while earning a spot among the UAAP Season 77 Mythical 5 team. Amateur career Newsome suited up for the Hapee Fresh Fighters in the PBA D-League, where he teamed up with fellow college standouts and future draft batchmates Troy Rosario, Baser Amer, Garvo Lanete and Scottie Thompson. Together, they helped the Fresh Fighters win its first ever PBA D-League title in 2015. Professional career Newsome was drafted fourth overall by the Meralco Bolts in the 2015 PBA draft, reuniting with his former collegiate coach Norman Black. A few days after the draft, he signed a three-year deal with the Bolts. In his PBA debut on October 28, 2015, he finished with a team-high-tying 14 points, including two on a highlight slam dunk over San Miguel's Arwind Santos.