Elizabeth City State Athletics

Elizabeth City State’s Shawn Walker to be Grambling State’s next head coach

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The last couple of seasons have been incredibly difficult for anyone associated with the Grambling State basketball program. With academic issues that led to a postseason ban in 2013 and an on-court product that produced just five wins over the last two season, it was clear that a lot needed to be fixed in order for the SWAC program to move forward. Interim president Cynthia Warrick has found the man who will lead the Grambling State basketball program.

Shawn Walker, who for the last 12 years served as head coach at Division II Elizabeth City State, will be hired at Grambling State. During his time at ECSU Walker compiled a record of 196-172, which included a season as head coach of the women’s program. Under Walker the Vikings made three appearances in the CIAA title game, winning the league tournament in 2007.

“Our department and university family wishes Coach Walker the very best as he transitions to Division I Basketball,” ECSU AD J. Lin Dawson said in a release. “We appreciated his commitment to ECSU and the legacy he built. He is a solid individual who understands that the platform of Athletics provides a tremendous avenue to impact the community, and in particularly, the youth.

“Shawn will be a major asset to Grambling. He brings a successful coaching résumé, vision, stability, and a strong work ethic that is contagious.”

Grambling State has yet to announce the move despite Elizabeth City State announcing Walker’s resignation, but according to the News-Star an email was sent to members of the program by Warrick informing them of the move. Joseph Price, who was placed in charge of the program to turn things around, may not have been successful from a win/loss standpoint but his moves helped the Tigers get out of the academic rut they were in.

And among the additions to the program was guard Antwan Scott, who posted averages of 15.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game last season. Making sure Scott stays around for his senior season will be one of Walker’s most important early tasks.

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.