NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Old Dominion's Jeff Jones has worn sneakers during games before to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer. He's never worn sneakers designed and painted by one of his own players.
Monarch junior forward Kalu Ezikpe is an artist. He enjoys drawing animated characters and told News 3 back in November that one day he hopes to create his own animated show. Ezikpe has also taken his art to shoes and he's the designer and artist for Jones's sneakers that he'll wear on Saturday night against Charlotte.
"Through social media, you see all these cool kicks," Ezikpe said of how he started his shoe designs. "I love to draw, so I'm looking at these shoes and I'm like 'this is something that I could easily do.'"
He's drawn designs on shoes of high school teammates and for some of his college teammates at Old Dominion. Now he'll put his talents to use for his coach and a good cause.
"It's cool," the Monarch forward said. "Definitely had to use a skill set of my own and some type of media on my skill set. To do it for my coach is pretty cool, pretty cool and special."
"I asked him 'is this something you would like to do?,'" Jones said. "It would get some notoriety and I think be a cool thing for me to wear shoes that have been painted by one of my players and then if we can auction them off an make some money for the Coaches vs. Cancer, then all the better. He jumped at the opportunity."
Cancer is a cause that hits close to home for Jones. The head coach was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015, but he says he has not thought much about his own personal situation when it comes to this weekend.
"I didn't really think in terms of my personal situation, but the fact that Kalu is doing this, I think it's kind of a cool thing."
While Ezikpe can do a lot with the stroke of a pen, his basketball stroke has been pretty on-point as well this season. He's averaging 11.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and is one of the Monarchs' most reliable big men.
Ezikpe's art was featured during the November 3 edition of the Old Dominion Full Court Press.