Black Athletes are Recognizing Their Ultimate Power
By: Gregory L. Coleman, Staff Reporter
Makur Maker made a shocking and groundbreaking announcement on Twitter at 12:38 a.m—officially committing to Howard University to play basketball, and gain a higher education on July 3, 2020.
Maker is the first five-star recruit to commit to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) since the ESPN recruiting database began in 2007—making him the first one to do so in 40 years to commit to an HBCU.
According to Jon Rothstein, Maker withdrew his 2020 NBA Draft eligibility and opted out to play with the Kenneth Blakeney coached basketball squad.
While having offers from other prosperous and successful basketball programs, committing to Howard University, places Maker in conversations of possibly being one of the most influential athletes of this generation, in college, and possibly in the world.
In a statement on ESPN’S The Undefeated, Maker explained his reasoning for coming to Howard stating “I dare to be different and I always consider myself to be a leader. I want to change the culture.”
With many leaders that have graduated from Howard University such as Rep. Elijah Cummings, Vice President nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, Toni Morrison, and Chadwick Boseman, the idea of becoming a trailblazer and an impactful figure will be attainable for Makur Maker.
In his interview with The Undefeated, he admired “the collective culture” at HBCUs.
“Everyone knew everyone’s name, everyone was connected, everyone had ambitions or was pursuing something in life. And that was really appealing to me,” he explained to The Undefeated.
Photo Credits: Micheal Reaves/ Getty Images
The 6-foot-5 junior from Wake Forest, Sharone Wright Jr., transferred to Morgan State University, the same day that Maker officially committed to Howard.
According to the New York Times, Daniel Ingram, a star quarterback from the state of Ohio, tweeted that he would be playing at the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff (UAPB) instead of playing at the University of Cincinnati just hours after Maker’s announcement. The New York Times also states that Tayvion Land, an excellent defensive back from Liberty University, transferred to Norfolk State University (NSU) so he could be “surrounded by people with similar backgrounds and cultural experiences.”
The top high school recruit in the nation for the Class of 2023, Mikey Williams, has already made it known on Twitter that he intends on attending and playing for an HBCU.
“About to make folks mad with this!! #HBCU,” he tweeted on July 2, 2020.
Now Williams has five HBCUs in his top 10 schools he plans to attend (Tennessee State University, Alabama State University, Hampton University, Texas Southern University, and North Carolina Central University).
Nojel Eastern, a 6-foot-7 guard from Evanston, Illinois, has transferred from Purdue University to Howard University to add his defensive prowesses to Head Coach Kenneth Blakeney’s new roster, which looks to be promising this upcoming season.
The open court run and gun style of the Mid Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) Maker believes can translate well to the NBA, although his talent alone will lead NBA scouts to him.
Maker will bring his nearly 7-foot frame to the Mecca, along with a plethora of other skill sets. He has ball-handling skills that will translate well to the NBA in the era of “The Modern Big Man”, who can bring the ball up the court like a point guard, and be a threat when transitioning.
According to Mike Schmitz from Draft Express, Maker has an exceptional shooting stroke.
His form is exceptional, he gets good rotation, and with more development, he can be a potential threat from deep. His 7-foot-7 wingspan will make him a threat inside the paint on the defensive end when it comes to shot-blocking. If he can add to the explosiveness he already has, it will be a problem for offensive players.
According to MaxPreps, in the five games he played at Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, California, and Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, Arizona, he averaged 14.4 points, 1.8 assists, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. Maker also shot 57% from the field and 50% from the three-point line.
Coach Kenneth Blakeney had a lot of great things to say about the new recruit as he told The Hilltop, “Makur is a program-changing player for us and we’re excited for him to join us on campus. At Howard, Makur will be in a position to grow as an elite basketball player, but also as a socially conscious student, during a pivotal moment when our country is focusing on its racial inequalities.”
With a possible great season coming from the Bison, and possibly an outstanding campaign from Maker himself, the outlook of the NCAA and HBCU sports competition may change forever.
“I want to inspire the youth to be able to lead in whichever way they can. I’m doing it by taking this step. Hopefully, in one or two years from now, we’ll see HBCUs as power schools,” Maker told The Hilltop.
As the excitement grows all over the world, the Howard University family can now enjoy landing a top prospect. Many students say the basketball season cannot get here soon enough.