Can Ex-NBA Stars Reclaim HBCU Basketball Glory? | Basketball

IIn the summer of 2020, Makur Maker is made titles. The Kenyan athlete, who was born in South Sudan and Australia, raised eyebrows because of where he chose to play. But unlike his fellow five-star college enlisted men, it wasn’t necessarily for the specific school he attended. Instead, it was because Writes Choose the school maker. The then 16th-ranked basketball recruit (according to ESPN) announced his decision to attend a meeting HBCU. Specifically, Howard University.

At the time, this was largely unknown. For the past 50 years, college basketball recruiting has been dominated by schools like the University of North Carolina, Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Duke. Historically black colleges like Howard, Fisk, Bethune-Cookman, Jackson State, and LeMoyne-Owen were not usually considered by top players, nor were they often managed by coaches who competed at the highest level. As such, HBCU teams have Scarcely It made big waves in March of madness.

But that is changing – and fast. In the past few weeks, Michael Jordan’s company, Jordan brand (a Nike subsidiary), announced a 20-year partnership with Howard. More recently, a growing group of former NBA stars signed on to the dotted line to lead HBCU basketball programs in hopes of upgrading the schools and HBCU’s legacy. Kenny Anderson, Former NBA All-Star and New York City”point God“He is the head coach at Fisk University. Reggie Theus, a two-time superstar and former Saturday morning TV star, is the principal basketball coach and athletic director at Bethune-Cookman. The NBA also shares itself. there was even HBCU Gallery During the NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas for this season.

The 6-foot-11-inch playmaker, cousin to former NBA first-round Thon Maker pick, made the decision to enroll in Howard University, saying then, “I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow.” The decision came six weeks after the killing of George Floyd and subsequent global protests. Change was in full swing. Suddenly cunning, basketball wise at least, was at her center.

But while Maker’s decision has put the spotlight on HBCU’s basketball programs, it wasn’t the first time these schools have boasted big-name players. HBCUs, which were originally founded to provide educational opportunities to later blacks ReleaseShe has a long history with the pros, though not so much recently. NBA legends Willis Reid, Earl “Pearl” Monroe, Ben Wallace, Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley and Sam Jones are all HBCU alumni. Role players like Avery Johnson and Robert Covington (who is the only active HBCU player in the NBA), are very.

On the football field, the NFL legend has also made waves in the HBCU world. Hall of Fame corner player Dion Sanders took over the head coaching position at Jackson State in 2020 – he and Williams are now teammates. In just two seasons, Sanders has made his show great again, not to mention a success. In 2019, Jackson State went 4-8. In 2020, after Sanders took over, the school was above 0.500, and went 4-3 in a shortened season affected by Covid-19. And in 2021, just two years after his arrival, the school boasted an impressive 11-2 record (unbeaten in the conference), playing in the Celebration Bowl, led by Sanders’ son in the middle (and Common Yogurt ejector), shader.

This is the kind of influence that Anderson and Theos (along with Dixon, Williams, and Wells) hope for in their schools. The question is, how will their star power in the NBA affect HBCU programs going forward?

Fisk University, part of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, is a historic institution. The alumni roster rivals most schools and includes the likes of poet Nikki Giovanni, Beyoncé’s father Matthew Knowles, pioneering civil rights politician John Lewis, NFL players Neil Craig and Robert James, and Alma Powell (wife of the late former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell). Anderson could add his name to the list of famous people who walked the Nashville, Tennessee campus as of 2018. His goal? Give back to his young players.

“Not just in basketball, but in life in general,” Anderson told the Guardian. “I get that from my high school coach, Jack Curran.”

Anderson, who said he “retired” before taking the job at Fisk, knew he wanted another chance at coaching. Previously, he had coached at the lower levels of professional basketball, but with a lot of experience in the game, after falling in love with it at the age of six in Queens, coaching called him again. He linked up with Fisk’s then-president, Kevin Roma, who had known Anderson from his days as a star player at Georgia Tech, and took over the position, which Anderson described as a “fantastic fit.” Last year, Fisk had a difficult season, Finishing is well below .500. But it is practical. Neither Italian Roma nor the basketball champion was built in a day. Despite that, it starts to get exciting. something to wrap around it.

“Pride,” Anderson says, “I’m just trying to build it. I’m building it here at Fisk. Being a basketball player and an NBA All-Star, a goalkeeper from New York City, it’s the other things in life that I connect with to these guys [about, too]. It is a blessing for me to be involved.

Reggie Theus took over as athletic director at Bethune-Cookman, part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, in 2021. Theus, who was head coach in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings and in college with New Mexico State (and an assistant in Louisville under Rick Pitino), It is also broadcast at the highest levels with TNT and other outlets. He has starred in the basketball sitcom, Hang Time. But Theus knew he “hasn’t finished his training.” In fact, he says he “prayed” for the opportunity.

“When I started praying for this opportunity to do more, this business opened up,” says Theus.

He applied as a coach, but the school offered him full equipment and a caboodle. He accepted the position of athletic director and “appointed” himself as a basketball coach with the school’s blessing. But the main challenge, says Theus, is the finances and the fact that Python Cockman does not own arenas or sports fields. He’s been tasked with developing a sports program in his vision, but it takes time. “If you want to be good, you have to be willing to do things to be good,” says Theus. Patience is required, but also economic support.

“When you look at the attention being given to HBCUs by the social awareness that has lasted, as well as the athletes who are pushing to participate now, it gets better,” says Theus. “When you think about the fact that you don’t have to go to Power-5 school to get into the NBA or play in the NBA.” Europe – parents and these kids, they want to do what we’ve already done. They look at us as role models.”

Theus says HBCU is gaining more and more exposure, thanks to Sanders, Jordan, Maker, and others. He says, “Oh yeah.” “100%.” His student-mathematicians Google his name and those like Anderson see their goodwill. And while recent years have been tough for the Bethune-Cookman basketball and soccer teams, in part due to the impact of Covid-19, other teams like baseball and softball have been doing well. In this context, Theos has high hopes for the upcoming seasons. “Everything is moving positively,” he says.

Today, Foxy is making his way as a pro as well, slowly but surely. While his time at Howard has been cut short due to injury and the pandemic, he is working towards advancement in various developmental tournaments. But whether he played key minutes in the NBA or not, Foxy has already made his mark in basketball history. He raised the HBCU name at a time when schools needed it. Now, Jordan is taking the lead, with Anderson, Theos, Dixon, Williams and Wells there as well. How these NBA stars will continue to affect the entire HBCU scene. But they could do for her what basketball did for them. This is the mission they have chosen to accept, starting over this fall.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of work,” Anderson says. But this is a great opportunity. We don’t have all the things we need to succeed in basketball. But we got there.”

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