Chris Jones

Louisville-bound point guard Chris Jones named NABC JUCO Player of the Year

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On Tuesday, Northwest Florida State sophomore point guard and Louisville commit Chris Jones was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Junior College Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-10 point guard averaged 22.9 points per game in his final season at Northwest Florida State, leading the Raiders to their second consecutive national championship game appearance. Jones ended his junior college career with a 62-6 record over the course of two seasons.

“He’s just a great player,” said Northwest Florida State head coach Steve Forbes said in a school statement earlier this month when Jones was selected as an All-American.. “He works hard and he deserves everything he gets. He has had a great two years here and I really think being here has helped Chris a lot. He has matured both mentally and physically, and he’s a better player now than when he got here.”

Jones will need to translate the success he had in the JUCO ranks to the D1 level, as the Cardinals begin their title defense in October without the leadership of senior guard Peyton Siva.

Louisville returns Russ Smith, Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock from this season’s title team while losing center Gorgui Dieng to the draft.

Rick Pitino will look to Jones and incoming freshman Terry Rozier (Hargrave Military Academy/Shaker Heights, Ohio) to help with the ballhandling duites, especially with sophomore guard Kevin Ware returing from his broken leg. Shooting guard Anton Gill (Hargrave Military Academy/Raliegh, N.C.) and power forward Akoy Agau (Omaho Central High, Omaho, Neb.) are also members of Louisville’s incoming class.

“It looks like Chris made a great choice of where to finish his college career,” Forbes added. “I know he’s ready to get up there. They are getting a good player.”

Photo courtesy of @NWF_Raiders

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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)
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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.