By Greg Colburn, Communications Coordinator
High expectations, continued success & tough schedule
Knights play 6 D1 opponents, including Davidson
Dave Archer is pumped. It’s October, and that means basketball season’s finally here. The Central Penn men’s basketball coach is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons, and he’s optimistic about continuing that streak with this year’s personnel.
“We have a great balance of returning players, and players who are coming in expecting to make an impact,” says Archer. Last year, the Knights went 20–10 and made it to the USCAA Basketball National Championships, losing by four points to Warren Wilson 73–69 in the quarterfinals.
Among the veterans are All-American Joel Zola, Randy Dupont and Noah Baylor. “The coaching staff is expecting these players to be third-year starters and lead the Knights,” says Archer. The team began practicing on Oct. 1.
Some new players he expects to make an impact include Deon Tabb (Virginia), Jaleel Gary (New York), Tyreke Woodard (New Jersey) and Trent Watson (New Jersey).
Archer wasn’t done talking up his team. “Making his debut this year will be Tyler White (Baltimore) who sat out last year. Local player Christian Ray (Harrisburg High) is someone we are excited to have. Kenny Davis (Maryland) is returning back to the program after taking a year off,” says the third-year coach.
The Knights’ 30-game schedule features contests against six NCAA Division 1 opponents including Davidson, the alma mater of NBA superstar Steph Curry. Other D1 teams include Maryland Eastern Shore, Howard, Winthrop, Elon and Campbell.
“This year we are going into unchartered waters playing against Davidson, and being the only non-D1 team to play against someone of that caliber,” says Archer. Central Penn takes on Davidson Dec. 22 in an away game.
The Knights also face tough non-conference competition from three D1 teams from the NAIA: Georgetown College, Lindsey Wilson and Campbellsville. In addition, more than 75% of the Knights’ games are on the road.
“We know year in and year out our schedule will be tough, and this year is no different,” says Archer. “The amazing part about our schedule is that it gives us a chance to show the heart of this amazing school, our student athletes love representing the school and the community as a whole.”
“As a program, we’re coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons, but this is a new season and we want to keep on building on success,” says Archer. “This year, we are looking to do things with excellence.”
The team will continue to take steps toward winning a national championship, but he has some other goals for the Knights as well: “Team GPA over 3.0, community service of 100 hours as a team, and beating a D1 school.”
While winning is important, Archer sees the big picture for the students he coaches: “Basketball is a tool, and this year we want to represent the school in EXCELLENCE in every single way!”
The Knights kick off the season against Georgetown College in an away contest on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. In preseason action, Central Penn will scrimmage Stevens Tech on Oct. 22 and participate in the University of Pikeville tournament in Kentucky on Oct. 26–27.