Newton helped the Warriors win two state titles in their parochial school division and a national state tournament during his tenure at the southwest Roanoke County school. He expects to be redshirted in his freshman year, focusing on gaining some weight and getting stronger.
“It was a very long process; it started in elementary school, when I was playing Upward Basketball. At that point I knew I wanted to [take it] as far as I could. In the end it worked out to where I’m going to be playing in college for 4-5 years.” Getting stronger so he can compete at the D1 level against “a lot of strong guys” is the goal for Newton as he joins the Liberty Flames team, coached by Richie McKay.
Newton signed his papers to play at Liberty in front of family, friends, teammates and others from Faith Christian recently, amid great fanfare in the school library, with cake afterwards, saying he had a “spiritual calling” about committing to Liberty. “They want you to succeed academically as well as athletically, that’s the biggest part for me, both parts of the spectrum. “I’m very excited about the future; I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me at Liberty.”
Pete Altierio was Newton’s head coach for all four years that he was on the varsity team and saw his prized center’s development: “most of our work was in the off-season. We had a lot of one on one time.”
Altierio said Newton was very dedicated, even employing personal basketball trainers for sessions at 5 in the morning before school started. “He met everything he wanted to do – a lot of hard work but he had the ethic. If I wasn’t in the mood he made me in the mood. He never quit working, never.”
Altierio said Newton pushed some of his fellow Warrior teammates and “was great for the program.” There are still plenty of good pieces left in place from the reigning state championship team too: “You better watch out for Faith Christian in Roanoke, Virginia,” warns Newton.
By Gene Marrano