The Best Black Talent in Sports is Beginning to Seriously Consider HBCU’s
By Kira Nicole Grant
During an eventful Homecoming week, Joshua Christopher, a prolific finisher and premiere shooting guard of the 2020 basketball recruiting class, officially visited Howard University, his new potential home, on Wednesday, Oct. 4 — a resolute consideration to take his talents atop the Hill.
Christopher first announced his decision to visit Howard University in a recent interview with The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill, accompanying his interests in the school’s treasured diasporic culture.
The 17-year-old two-guard expressed his yearnings to grow closer to his roots and its importance in his discussion with Hill.
“As I grow older, I just want to know where Josh Christopher comes from, knowing my background,” he said, adding he’s “more than just a basketball player”— a striking acknowledgement of power Hill wishes other black athletes would realize in her essay, “It’s Time for Black Athletes to Leave White Colleges.”
His decision to visit Howard University comes just two weeks after another high school showstopper, 6-foot-11 Makur Maker officially announced his visit in a tweet, furthering the national conversation about black athletes attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Christopher, who averaged a whopping 25.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for Mayfair High School is nothing short of an elite prospect among his class.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound guard hailing from Lakewood, California, boasts strong offensive upside, excellent strength and sheer athleticism. Offensively he has established himself as a proven finisher at the rim, with the ability to create shots for himself and others away from the ball— often dominating opponents in the paint by penetrating their defenses.
On the defensive side of the ball, he’s a solid defender who uses his body to his advantage; forcing players to move away from their sweet spots on the court and make tough shots. Christopher’s unco commitment to defense makes him a valuable player on both sides of the court, which would be polarizing for Howard University Men’s Basketball.
ESPN ranked the California-native 12th overall on the ESPN 100 list, a basketball recruiting database of player rankings. This list curated by scouting experts recognizes Christopher as a top-tier player, arguably the best shooting guard in the nation.
Anticipating a summer 2020 graduation date, the premier shooting guard has received recruitment offers from Arizona State University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Kentucky, and a slew of other programs.
Christopher’s decision to visit an HBCU, a rare move by most prominent athletes today is an attestation to the growth of black athletes who are becoming more aware of their power. His interest in Howard University encourages other basketball players and youth to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities, bringing much-needed awareness to places once considered the center of black life; the MECCA.
HBCUs have birthed some of the most skilled game-changers in basketball like the iconic Hall of Famer Willis Reed (Grambling State University), Earl “The Pearl” Monroe (Winston-Salem State University), Charles Oakley (Virginia Union University), Anthony Mason (Tennessee State University) and active Philadelphia 76ers center Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State University).
If black athletes’ interests in HBCUs continue to peak, it can potentially create landing spots for premiere black talent and enrich black culture, while concurrently providing opportunities to alleviate institutional financial woes.
“I think it was just important for me to get out there—and you know just to spread the word that schools like that, the HBCUs should be looked at,” said Christopher in an interview Thursday with Rivals’ basketball contributor Krysten Peek.
“The culture is there and I feel like we can bring the athletics too.”
Following Christopher’s visit this week, the dynamic center Makur Maker, who’s ranked 10th in the nation by ESPN will officially visit Howard University during homecoming weekend on Oct.11—a visit he’s anxiously awaited since late August after talking to Howard University Men’s Basketball head coach Kenneth Blakeney.
Photos by Elijah Oliver