ECSU coach Dawkins cuts majority of team(IT SEEMS WE JUST KEEP GOING BACKWARDS. ITS AUGUST AND WE ONLY HAVE 2-BASKETBALL PLAYERS ON OUR ROSTER?)
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Elizabeth City State women’s basketball coach Laquanda Dawkins made one point clear at her introductory press conference last September.
“This is what it’s about,” Dawkins said at the time as she held up an ECSU cap and pointed to the players in the back of the room. “It’s always about the student-athlete. Without them, we wouldn’t be in the position to be where we are, to be able to mentor. To be able to coach.”
After Dawkins’ first season leading the Lady Vikings to an 8-18 record, the coach will have nearly a new batch of student-athletes to coach.
According to multiple sources, at least seven players from last season’s team are no longer with the program.
Sources said the Lady Vikings return two players from last season’s 8-18 squad: Jalyn Brown and Jasmine Nixon.
A request for comment from Dawkins was not returned.
They added Dawkins held individual evaluations with players near the end of the spring 2016 semester in April, where she delivered her decision.
She did not give some players that were released from the team a reason for the separation.
A source added some players decided not to transfer from ECSU because they were too far along in their major.
Starting guard Breona Jones, who was the 2014-15 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, is now at Fayetteville State.
Also on the way out is last season’s leading scorer Imani Heggins.
A player that was given a reason for the separation was Alliyah Floyd.
Floyd said that Dawkins released her from the team because of a lack of commitment.
During the fall 2015 semester, Floyd — then a junior — was pledging to the sorority Delta Sigma Theta.
Floyd said she asked for and was granted a meeting with Dawkins and ECSU senior woman administrator Myra Blow last fall to inform Dawkins that she was in the process of pledging and said Dawkins was OK with her doing so.
Floyd said she finished her pledge to the sorority in late November.
The Lady Vikings’ season ended in February at the CIAA tournament in Charlotte and when the team evaluation occurred in April, Floyd said the sorority was cited as a reason for her release.
“She told me that I was distracted because of the sorority,” Floyd said. “I put basketball to the back burner.”
Floyd, who averaged five points per game, added that she didn’t agree with Dawkins’ assessment.
Classified as an out-of-state student, Floyd said the value of the lost athletic scholarship was more than $5,000.
Floyd wants to graduate from ECSU, but is trying to find the funding to pay for classes this upcoming semester.
The Virginia Beach, Virginia native wants to use her last season of basketball eligibility at another school if she is accepted into a graduate program.
Heggins, who led ECSU in scoring and was named to the All-CIAA team last season, is also actively looking for a new school.
Heggins, who transferred to the Lady Vikings from Division III Shenandoah prior to last season, completed her recent semester at ECSU this summer and is still waiting for a waiver to be processed to allow her to play basketball next season.
Normally, a transfer cannot play for a season when they move from one four-year institution to another.
The forward from Chesapeake, Virginia added that some CIAA schools are on her list of schools she is interested in.
Some players on last season’s team were recruited by Dawkins’ predecessor, coach Ron Woodard.
From some players’ perspective, complete trust was never developed with Dawkins.
“I'm not sure about her vision,” Heggins said. “I was a piece that she couldn't use.”
The players returning to ECSU were productive last season.
Brown — a product of Williamston’s Riverside — was named to the All-CIAA rookie team. Brown scored 10.6 points per game last season.
Nixon — formerly at Northeastern — led the Lady Vikings with 7.2 rebounds per game.