In high school basketball, Newman has a huge measuring stick coming up this Tuesday night. The Greenies host defending 2A champions John Curtis. That game will tell head coach Kemper Todd a lot about his team.
Todd has a host of outstanding seniors, including 6’5″ senior and captain Duke Douglass, and a pair of 6’5″ twins, Kendrick and Kyle Lewis.
Is this group good enough to win a state title? He could find out in the next 24 hours, against the defending champions.
“It lets you know that you are for real,” Todd explains. “It lets you know you have a chance to win the whole thing.”
Newman owns a win over Curtis this season, but that was before the Patriots got all of their players back from football. Curtis wide receiver turned forward Malachi Dupre makes the Greenies job on the boards that much tougher.
“We have to rebound well,” Douglass tells WGNO Sports. “They are strong and athletic and get up the floor. We have to rebound and eliminate some of their fast break opportunities.”
Todd said he purposefully scheduled a tougher season to get his team playoff ready: the Greenies own wins over Rummel, St. Thomas Aquinas, Holy Cross, Brother Martin and Helen Cox.
Todd won a state championship at UMS Wright in Mobile in 1998. He said this senior-laden team does have the same chance and yes, that does put additional pressure on the head coach: “I want them to be as good as they can and that may be the best, so I want them to be a champion. So yeah. Yes, a little pressure. That’s an honest answer from a coach. I like that. I like the pressure. I don’t know how they will respond, but I like it.”
The Curtis/Newman game tips off at Newman on Tuesday at around 7 p.m.