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‘The greatest incubator of Black talent in sports’: Inside Howard University’s Basketball Staff

The Howard University men’s basketball team management staff offers immense support for the team and boosts the representation of Black people, especially women, in sports.

Pictured is the management staff for the 2023-24 season. The management staff for the men’s basketball team plays a huge role in the team’s success, on and off the court. (Photo Courtesy of @HUmensBB/Instagram)

Since Kenneth Blakeney, coach of the Howard University men’s basketball team, arrived at the school in 2019, the program has improved on and off the court. 

However, a lot of the team’s success can be credited to management staff due to their vital role in operations throughout the program.

The staff comprises over 70 students, 80 percent of whom are women. They operate in seven cohorts within the program ranging from social media, general operations, statistics, travel, NIL/branding, social justice and equipment. Blakeney describes the staff as “the greatest incubator of Black talent in sports,” as so many of the managers have gone on to work for different companies in the sports industry. 

This includes Na’im Briggs, a junior political science major with a secondary education minor, who currently serves as the head manager of statistics for the team.

Na’im Briggs pictured as the USA Basketball Torch Leadership Fellow. The program aims to give minority students the chance to gain career and mentorship experience through different activities while working under senior staff at USA Basketball. (Photo Courtesy of @naim.briggs)

Briggs recently has been selected as a fellow for the USA Basketball Torch Leadership National Program. Alongside him, other managers have worked for organizations including the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Bleacher Report and Nike, among others. Briggs has been able to carve a solidified role in the Howard men’s basketball program by running the key stat that drives the team. 

“The way I was able to differentiate myself was getting good at stats,” Briggs said. “We have a stat we keep called EGBs, energy-generating behaviors, and it’s really like the engine identity of the program. I was able to get really good at that, and it kind of just escalated from there.” Briggs has been able to teach others about statistics while also growing as a leader.

Players on the team have also formed bonds with the staff, with them being so invested in the culture. Bryce Harris, a junior forward on the Howard men’s basketball team, believes the staff’s work behind the scenes is invaluable to the team’s success, which is why they value them.

“We spend a lot of time with our managers, not only on the court but off the court. We appreciate our managers a hundred percent,” Harris said. “What they do for us is priceless. Little things that we might not be able to take care of, they take care of for us, and they make our job a thousand times easier.” Even outside of basketball, the managers show up for the team.

With the staff being 80 percent women, they accurately represent the culture at Howard, with women being the majority on campus. Blakeney realizes this has built trust within the program, knowing the importance of valuing women in a workspace, especially in sports.

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“It has built a relationship of trust. The things that we talk about as a staff, specifically for me, is that you have to respect women. I appreciate what they bring to our program, which for us has been unbelievable,” Blakeney said.

For those interested in joining the managerial staff, their new interest meeting has already passed as of Sept. 5. However, Blakeney will still not shy anybody away from getting involved because he knows it’s an opportunity for students at Howard to gain practical experience in the sports field. Those interested should email Briggs at

Copy edited by Diamond Hamm


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