NEWBERRY — The Newberry men’s basketball team will travel to West Lafayette, Ind. this weekend to take on the Purdue Boilermakers in historic and newly renovated Mackey arena, thanks to a former assistant of Newberry head basketball coach Dave Davis.
The 8 p.m. game Saturday, highlights a trip for the Newberry College student-athletes that will include a major college football game when Penn State takes on Purdue at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Purdue head coach Matt Painter, has built his alma mater back into a National Championship contender. With a pair of Sweet 16 appearances, six-consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles and an international gold medal on his résumé, eighth-year head coach Matt Painter is widely regarded as one of the brightest young minds in all of college basketball.
Painter was Davis’ assistant coach at Barton College before moving to NCAA Division I as so many Davis assistants have done.
“Matt Painter comes from very humble college basketball beginnings, starting out a s volunteer in an NCAA D-III program and then as a part time coach with me in NCAA Division II,” said Davis. “I am extremely proud of the success he has had and when he took Purdue over the program was not in the best of shape.”
Davis took his Pfeiffer team to Purdue in Painter’s first year and Pfeiffer scored 56 first half points and led by as many as 14 points in the second half.
“Purdue basketball has come a long way in the past eight years and I am impressed as Matt has done it the right way. We are extremely grateful for him for giving this young group of guys the opportunity to see what big time college basketball is all about,” added Davis.
Davis coaching tree is quite impressive as he has former coaches and players who like Painter have found success at the highest level. Purdue, NC State, Villanova, Maryland, Washington, Charlotte, Manhattan, New Orleans, Cleveland State, Columbia, Coastal Carolina, Towson St., High Point, Lafayette, Winthrop, Southern Illinois, and Florida Gulf Coast are NCAA Division I schools you can find a former Davis disciple over the past 10 years. The NBA also features former Davis assistants with both the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic organizations.
Playing big time college basketball opponents is new to the Newberry College basketball but not to Davis. His teams scored 66 points in the second half against North Carolina in the Dean Dome in 2003 as well as 50 points vs. Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium in 2008, when Duke won the National Championship.
“We are blessed to get this opportunity and it will be quite an experience for our student athletes, coaches and fans,” said Davis
The game is Newberry’s first exhibition game in two seasons, as the Wolves were handed an 83-61 loss by Presbyterian in Davis’ first game as head coach at Newberry on Nov. 4, 2010.
Saturday’s contest is one of the longest trips in Newberry basketball history and is undoubtedly the most prestigious basketball school the Scarlet and Gray have opposed in the modern era of the sport.