Drake v Creighton

Drake announces dismissal of head coach Mark Phelps

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In the immediate aftermath of Drake’s 2008 Missouri Valley Conference title and trip to the NCAA tournament, there was hope in Des Moines that head coach Mark Phelps would be able to sustain the momentum generated by Keno Davis (who at the time filled the vacancy at Providence).

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that didn’t happen, and after five seasons at the school Phelps was relieved of his duties as announced by the school.

Phelps leaves Drake with an overall record of 77-86, which includes a 37-53 record in MVC play. Drake’s best MVC finish under Phelps came in 2011-12, when they finished five-way tie for third place.

In the other four season Drake finished in either 7th or 8th place, with their 7-11 record in 2012-13 (15-17 overall) landing the Bulldogs in a three-way tie for seventh.

“A decision like this is never easy,” Drake athletics director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said in a statement released by the school. “However, we believe a change in leadership is necessary to create a sustained level of competitive excellence.

“Drake Basketball is important to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters, and we will continue to invest significantly in the program and have high standards for its success.”

Whomever Drake hires will have some work to do, as three of the Bulldogs’ top four scorers from this season graduate led by 6-8 forward Ben Simons.

According to scout.com Drake holds a verbal commitment from 6-8 power forward Joe Boyd (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the Bulldogs were also heavily involved in Las Vegas, Nev. wing Rashad Muhammad (younger brother of UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad). With the coaching change it may be difficult to reel in the Bishop Gorman product.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.