Joseph Price came to Grambling State University with a plan and a mission to turn the men’s basketball program around, knowing it would take more than a season.
During his first season last year, the team went 0-28 and entered level three of NCAA APR suspension with less scholarships and fewer practice time. However, Monday marked the team’s second win this season and first conference win, ending a 45-game losing streak against Division-I opponents.
Since day one, Price has transformed the team and focused on only recruiting players who come from a winning basketball program. He also instilled the importance of academics while selecting his recruits in order to meet APR requirements.
“You have to get rid of kids who have a losing mindset,” said Price. “You have to get kids who have a winning mindset.”
With a new team and coaching staff, Price is pleased to have a talented group of players who have passion for basketball and earning a college degree. But, revamping a struggling team and putting life back into the program comes with a price to pay, especially since the team cannot participate in any post-season tournaments.
“He (coach Price) primarily focuses on grades because he wants the APR score to go up,” said freshman Windale Glinton. “He wants to see us all graduate and he makes sure that grades come first.”
Price said he has to be patient because a winning team doesn’t typically land on someone’s front doorstep, he explained how hard work will pay off in the future.
Having all odds against him in recruiting, the last pieces to change the perception of “Grambling’s basketball,” Price and his staff, were able to find the play-makers needed to complete his puzzle.
“I felt it was a big challenge for him and he deserved the job,” Glinton said on Price accepting the head coaching position. “He is willing to do whatever it takes to change this program around.”
Top recruit Antwan Scott, a transfer from the University of Idaho, said there are a lot of things Price has instilled in him, which includes taking away his selfish ways and convincing him to continue to play basketball during the hard times of his mother falling into an 11-month coma. Price has been there for Scott when his mother died in October.
“There have been times that I have called him (Price) at three in the morning, and I thought he wasn’t going to answer,” said Scott, “but he did.”
Since being recruited, Scott, a Dallas native, said off the court Price has helped each player become a better man and person. He said most coaches don’t have relationships off the court.
The team as a whole describes Price as a more than being head coach, but being a father figure to them as well.
Terry Rose, last year’s SWAC freshman of the year, said Price has had his door open to anyone who needs help or someone to talk to. Rose added how much faith his coach has for the men’s basketball program as well.
“There will be times during the day that he (Price) will call me when I get out of class to just talk to me,” said Rose. “He wants to be the guy who assisted in changing the team and turned it around from its losing record into a winning program.”
A Notre Dame alumnus, Price previously coached under the direction of legendary Bob Knight’s son, Pat Knight at Lamar University. During the Cardinals’ 2011-2012 season, Price helped lead the team to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000. Ending the season with a 23-12 record, Price led the Cardinals to their first 20-win season since 1988.
“I just want to change the perception of Grambling basketball,” said Price. “My players and I want to do something positive to give Gramblinites something to be proud about.”