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Coppin's Michael Grant ushers in new era for 2014-15 basketball season

Phinesse Demps | 8/9/2014, 6 a.m.
In ushering in a new era, first-year Coppin State men’s basketball head coach Michael Grant has gone big by signing ...

— In ushering in a new era, first-year Coppin State men’s basketball head coach Michael Grant has gone big by signing Lawrence Fejokwu and Blake Simpson, the first recruits for the 2014-15 season.

Both players come from winning programs and have the size and athleticism needed to thrive in Grant’s high-tempo system. Simpson is a 6 foot, 7 inch forward from LaSalle High in Cincinnati while Fejokwu is a 6” 9’ center from Lagos, Nigeria, who played last year at Northwest Junior College in Powell, Wyoming.

“I am really looking forward to having an opportunity to coach those guys,” Grant said. “Blake has a lot to learn being at the college level, but he has the body and size to be competitive. We’re looking for some good things from him. Lawrence will be able to balance out the two other centers we have as well. We wanted to make sure that we were able to bring in some size this year.”

In helping LaSalle win 18 games and advance to the Cincinnati District 1 Final last year, Simpson averaged 7.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots per game. Playing for an athletic LaSalle team featuring quick guards, Simpson earned a reputation as an eraser at the back end of the defense. During his career at LaSalle, Simpson was a member of a state title and district championship team.

Meanwhile, Fejokwu averaged 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game leading Northwest to 19 victories and the quarterfinals of the NJCAA the Region IX Tournament. He scored in double figures 17 times and scored a season-high 24 points against Little Big Horn College on Feb. 19. Fejokwu also recorded one double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) against Bismarck College.

“Lawrence is strictly an inside player, he’s not going to drift to the outside,” Grant said. “He’s going to play his role, which is rebound and block shots. He can score around the basket and that’s what we have to have in our system. Blake is more of a versatile player. You can look for him to get to the basket and finish. He’s a very athletic, strong and competitive kid.”