Former Pfeiffer coach connected to N.C. State / Purdue Final Four game

Saturday’s Final Four game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the N.C. State Wolfpack has connections to a former local basketball coach.

Dave Davis, who spent 14 seasons as the head men’s basketball coach of the Pfeiffer Falcons, has connections to both programs.

Current Purdue head coach Matt Painter was an assistant for Davis when he coached at Barton College in the 1994-95 season, two years after Painter played for the Boilermakers.

“Matt is highly intelligent, a great communicator and he is accountable. (He is a) wonderful person who deserves this Final Four experience as much or more than anyone who has ever coached,” Davis said. “He loves his players, but makes them responsible and holds them accountable. Like most of the nation, Pam and I are pulling hard for Purdue and Matt Painter to bring home a national championship.”

Davis said Purdue is in the Final Four because “his players work at their game and they improve, much like our Pfeiffer guys did year after year.”

The former Pfeiffer coach pointed out the play of the Boilermakers backcourt for the team’s improvement this season.

“Look how much better the Purdue guards are. They were freshmen last year. Remember what Zack Edey looked like his first season at Purdue, and now he is the best of the best,” Davis said. “It seems that most of D1 is recruiting older talented players, while Purdue gets guys and they develop them.”

Davis said Purdue “is winning basketball the way it used to be played with a back-to-the-basket center/player, but also by building a program as they always have. They also bring great spacing into the game that makes it more difficult to double Edey and allows teammates to be open for wide open threes if they do double. Purdue defends and rebounds and will be quite difficult to beat unless they play badly.”

The former Pfeiffer coach also worked with N.C. State forward D.J. Burns when Burns played two seasons in 2020 and 2021 at Winthrop, where Davis was the associate head coach.

Davis said with Burns, “what you see is what you get. He is ‘happy go lucky.’ He does not get nervous. (He is the) best post scorer and post passer I coached in 40 years.”

“What is unique about D.J., other than his size and mobility, is the bigger the game, the better he will play. The bigger the moment. the better he will perform,” Davis said. “I was honored to coach DJ two years at Winthrop. We won the regular season and the tournament both years.”

Burns was a part of a high-scoring, up-tempo offense for which teams associated with Davis were known.

“He was 265 pounds and was lean and mean. I believe he was tourney MVP for both years I coached him. It was an honor and pleasure to coach him,” Davis said.

Tipoff for the N.C. State/Purdue game is scheduled for 6:09 p.m.