WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue guard Rapheal Davis spent much of the Boilermakers' public scrimmage chasing point guards. It's coach Matt Painter's version of freshman orientation.
Davis has spent his career, from his days at South Side High School to last season at La Lumiere School, thinking offense first. He takes the basketball and lights up the scoreboard.
But you don't play at Purdue unless you play defense.
“All my life I've been playing with the ball in my hands, now I'm coming off screens,” Davis said. “But the biggest thing that changed is just playing defense. Today they were having me play defense full-court guarding the point guard, which is something I've never done before.”
Davis knew Painter's defensive emphasis when he accepted his scholarship offer, of course.
“I knew it was going to be a big thing,” he said, “but I just have so much learning now.”
Davis scored eight points with two rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot in the scrimmage Saturday after the alumni game at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers were led by D.J. Byrd's 17 points. Freshman guard Ronnie Johnson scored 13 points with four assists. Sophomore Jacob Lawson pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds and junior Sandi Marcius and redshirt freshman Donnie Hale added nine apiece.
“(Davis) just needs the basic understanding of what he has to do guarding the basketball,” Painter said. “It changes sometimes with who he's guarding. Some guys shoot, some guys break you down off the dribble, some guys can do both. It's an understanding of that and where he wants to force the ball, without reaching.”
Davis' offense will come, Painter said.
“Once he gets into a rhythm offensively, it'll help everything,” Painter said. “It is very normal for scorers to sometimes stand and watch instead of moving because they're used to dominating it.”