Sunday, July 3, 2016

Grambling State's Nigel Ribeiro Out to Prove His Coach is No Fool

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- If the night is darkest just before the dawn, then Grambling State would've seen a dramatic turnaround following its 0-28 season four years ago. But college basketball doesn't work like that, and the Tigers' program was in as rough shape as ever when Shawn Walker took over two years later.

"I don't know what the outcome is going to be next year," Walker told the Monroe, La.-based News Star last summer following an inaugural 2-27 season in 2014-15. "You'll have a story that says Shawn Walker is foolish or what this man was really selling is starting to come to fruition. One of them two things is going to happen."

So, is Walker foolish or not? The Tigers won just four games against Division I teams last year, and slogged through an 11-game SWAC losing streak. But don't rush to put the dunce cap on him. There were positives for the wayward program. Grambling State snapped a 36-game losing streak against D-I opponents, and won its most SWAC games in five years. Most importantly, Walker might have found a young player to headline his immense rebuilding effort.

Nigel Ribeiro had big plans when he signed with Walker and the Tigers. Before the season, he told the News Star that he and fellow commits Mike Bethea and Javier Roper would be the ones to lead the program to unseen places.


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