Tag: Grambling State Tigers

Texas Southern coach Mike Davis (Getty Images)

2014-15 SWAC Preview: Alabama State, Texas Southern lead the way

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Texas Southern coach Mike Davis (Getty Images)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

To say the least, the 2013-14 season was a difficult one for the SWAC. While the league had a clear regular season champion in Southern, the Jaguars were ineligible for postseason play thanks to low APR scores. That would be the case for three other SWAC programs as well, with those teams allowed to participate in the conference tournament. Ultimately Mike Davis’ Texas Southern Tigers, who were picked by some to win the regular season title, earned the NCAA tournament bid with well-traveled big man Aaric Murray leading the way.

Leading scorers Murray and D’Aris Scarver have moved on, which means that Davis has some significant holes to fill in order to lead Texas Southern back to the NCAA tournament. Davis welcomes back senior forward Jose Rodriguez while reloading with transfers. Nick Shepard (Long Beach State) and Nevin Johnson (Creighton) are ready to go while point guard Deverell Biggs (Nebraska) will be eligible at end of the fall semester. Will the “second chance” route once again work for Texas Southern? If it does, the Tigers will have the talent needed to win the SWAC automatic bid.

Even with those additions, however, Texas Southern likely won’t be the favorite to win the SWAC. That label will be affixed to Alabama State, with head coach Lewis Jackson welcoming back his top five scorers, led by guards Jamel Waters (14.1 ppg, 6.1 apg) and DeMarcus Robinson (11.5 ppg). What makes this more amazing is the fact that the Hornets are one of two SWAC teams ineligible for postseason play (Southern’s the other), and for many programs that marks the start of a mass exodus. With that not being the case for Alabama State, they’re more can capable of earning the SWAC regular season title.

Beyond Alabama State and Texas Southern the picture gets a lot murkier. Alcorn State returns two of its top three scorers from last season, junior guard LeAntwan Luckett (16.0 ppg) and senior forward Octavius Brown (13.5, 6.5 rpg). Luther Riley’s Braves went 9-9 in SWAC play last season, and with five newcomers (three junior college transfers) in the fold the hope in Lorman, Mississippi, is that this group can mesh in time for conference play. And of the four teams to finish below .500 in conference play last season Prairie View A&M is the one best equipped to climb into the top four, with senior guards John Brisco (12.2 ppg) and Montrael Scott (14.9 ppg) leading the way.

Head coach Byron Rimm II added seven newcomers to the program this offseason, so those two seniors will be important not just from a production standpoint but also in regards to the establishing of solid on-court chemistry. Not much seems all that certain in the SWAC at this time, and with Southern losing its top three scorers — led by leading scorer and rebounder Calvin Godfrey, who transferred to Memphis — it remains to be seen what the defending champions can produce given the departures and their postseason ban.

Will it be a two-team race between the reigning tournament champion Texas Southern and an Alabama State team that managed to hold onto its players post-APR ban? It certainly looks that way in October.


Of the five players to earn first team All-SWAC honors last season, Luckett is the only one who returns. The 6-foot-4 wing accounted for 16.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season, and he’ll once again lead the way for an Alcorn State team that can improve its standing within the SWAC pecking order.


  • Jamel Waters, Alabama State: Waters averaged 14.1 points and a SWAC-best 6.1 assists per game in 2013-14.
  • Jose Rodriguez, Texas Southern: With Aaric Murray and D’Aris Scarver gone, look for Rodriguez (11.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) to step forward this year.
  • Montrael Scott, Prairie View A&M: Scott was the most improved player in the SWAC last season, raising his scoring by more than nine points per game (5.1 in 2012-13 to 14.9 last season).
  • Octavius Brown, Alcorn State: Brown, who averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest last season, is one of the SWAC’s best returning front court players.



1. Alabama State
2. Texas Southern
3. Alcorn State
4. Prairie View A&M
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
6. Mississippi Valley State
7. Southern
8. Jackson State
9. Alabama A&M
10. Grambling State

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

Elizabeth City State Athletics
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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.

Grambling State head coach Joseph Price relieved of duties

Grambling v Marquette
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To follow along with the 2014 Coaching Carousel, click here.

Considering the fact that the program has put together a record of five wins and 52 losses over the last two years, including an 0-28 mark in 2012-13, it would be an understatement to say that these have been tough times for the Grambling State basketball program. Add in the issues the program faced academically when head coach Joseph Price was hired, resulting in their being ineligible for postseason play last year, and it’s clear that a lot needed to change.

Tuesday it was reported by Sean Isabella of The News-Star that recently hired interim school president Cynthia Warrick has begun making changes, with Price and athletic director Aaron James being relieved of their respective duties as part of the shakeup.

“My primary focus as interim president is to move Grambling State University to a competitive position of excellence at every level,” Warrick said in the statement. “I have started the process of making several strategic changes in my administrative team, which is a customary practice in transitions such as this. The significant challenges facing Grambling make these decisions even more important, and I am committed to assembling the best talent possible in order to move the University forward.”

The question now is what’s next for the Grambling State basketball program, especially with the first of three July evaluation periods a week away (July 9-13). With regards to next season’s roster guards Terry Rose, Antwan Scott and A’Torri Shine, the team’s top three scorers in 2013-14, were all due to return in 2014-15.

Grambling State finished the 2013-14 season with a 5-24 record (3-15 SWAC), and they also knocked off Jackson State in the first round of the conference tournament. The 2013-14 academic year at Grambling State also included the football team forfeiting a game due to a player protest of various issues within the program.