Stanford Robinson (AP Photo)

Assigned Reading: Former Boilermaker adjusts to life after basketball

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In a season that would include 17 losses, on the surface Purdue’s 76-57 loss at Nebraska on February 23 would represent nothing more than another tough night for Matt Painter’s young basketball team. However there were two losses on that night for the Purdue program to digest: the game itself, and redshirt freshman Jay Simpson having his playing career come to an end.

In the second half of that game the 6-foot-10 Simpson collapsed, momentarily losing consciousness. Medical tests in the days that followed the game revealed that Simpson had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, with the thickening of the heart muscles that occurs as a result of the disorder making the organ work harder to pump blood. And for Simpson, who visited three different doctors in hopes of hearing something different, this meant that he could no longer play the game he loved.

Marcus Jackson of the Champaign (Illinois) News-Gazette wrote a story about Simpson and his dealing with life after basketball, an existence that includes his girlfriend and their young son who was born on July 2. Still on scholarship at Purdue, Simpson is working towards earning his degree and raising his young family.

In West Lafayette, at the apartment he and Shelby share — she’s a student at nearby Ivy Tech — Simpson hangs with Kye at every turn: holding him, playing with him, trying to make him giggle.

“He has changed me a lot. He gives me hope, gives me energy,” Simpson said. “Some days I wake up and I just don’t want to do anything, but I see him and I have to. I don’t want him to grow up struggling.”

This is a really good story on a young athlete adjusting to a sudden change in life, with the sport he’d played for so long now off limits for health reasons. The full story can be read here.

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.