The average age for the point guards on the 2014 Phoenix Suns roster (Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Ennis) is just under 25 years old. The age of the starting point guard for Arizona Christian’s basketball team? 30.
Brandon Newman has taken an unconventional route to his college basketball career and has a world of experience prior to ever stepping foot on a college floor.
After high school, Newman joined the United States Navy where he served seven and a half years. He did two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and has been stationed all over the world. But one thing that did not go away during his service, his passion for basketball.
“We had an all-Navy basketball team,” Newman said. “I made that team so I was considered one of the 12 best players in the Navy. And we had a USA team. We played a tournament with all the armed forces. The Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and I got selected to play for that team also.
After concluding his service in the Navy, Newman decided he to go back to school and play basketball. However it was not an easy road. He started at Imperial Valley College in San Diego where he played one season but tore his ACL in the process. While on the road to recovery, his Coach at the time introduced him to Jeff Rutter, the head basketball coach at Arizona Christian. The two formed a bond and he ultimately transferred to spend his final three years of eligibility with the Firestorm in Phoenix.
“He has seen many more things than most of us are ever going to see in terms of things on the battle field and adversity and horrible things he has had to deal with,” explained Rutter. “And for him to stay so positive. You know, he doesn’t have to say anything. He is just an inspiration to all of us who get to work with him.”
For many members of the military, finding your place after the conclusion of your service his not always an easy task. Basketball has helped with that transition but is just part of his motivation. Newman is also the father of two young girls. Ten year old Kymie and seven year old Ailina.
“They also help me out a lot,” he mentioned. “They love that I play basketball and they are also playing sports so they have me become more motivated and driven.”
As a member of the Firestorm, Newman brings a form of leadership from his life experiences that most college teams could never have. He has teammates that are over a decade younger than him, fresh out of high school and have not experienced the world. Newman acknowledges that it creates a very unique dynamic.
“It is kind of weird,” Newman joked. “We joke about it and talk about my ago of course and I just explain to them as you get older, things change. But it’s bad to have a 30 year old beat a 19 year old!”
Newman averaged 11 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists starting 20 of 26 games for ACU last season and is back as the starting point guard in 2014 for the Firestorm as they look to go to their third consecutive NAIA National Tournament.
After college he hopes to play professionally oversees or if they does not work out, get into kinesiology and physical training. He will graduate from ACU in the spring of 2016.