It’s always been a hot rumor. Five-star high school hoops recruit has added an HBCU to the list of potential college destinations. Will he diss the Power Schools and pioneer a new era?
Maybe he can be the first to shun Duke and North Carolina and Ohio State and Indiana and build his own legacy. Maybe at Howard or Hampton or Virginia State, while elevating the profile and marketability of these Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which were once breeding grounds for the premier Black student athletes in the country.
Back in the days, segregation and discrimination ran so deep that today’s current PWI’s wouldn’t even allow Blacks to be admitted into their universities. Once these Power Schools started allowing Blacks into their mainstream corporate educational structures and exploiting them for profit, the elite athletes stopped going to HBCUs.
The lure of the high-profile PWI’s that have the TV and the sneaker deals, the legendary coaches, upgraded facilities and public sentiment, always wins over the less-heralded HBCU.
The big-time recruit never chooses an HBCU, for those reasons.
Howard Bisons Land The Big One
It appears as if Howard will be the school to break the mold, change the narrative, and elevate the overall HBCU brand.
Five-star senior Makur Maker is the courageous baller who took the leap and broke the monopoly that PWI’s have had on elite Black recruits. Maker committed to Howard on Friday morning, becoming the highest-ranked college basketball prospect to commit to a historically Black college or university since the ESPN recruiting database popped off in 2007.
According to ESPN, “if selected in the NBA draft, Maker would be the first such HBCU product since Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State) in 2012.”
That hot rumor just became big facts.
Maker, the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker, chose the Bison over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. The 6-foot-11 baller was born in Kenya before moving to Australia and then to California in 2015. Makur dropped 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 73% on 2-pointers last spring and summer with Dream Vision on the Adidas grassroots circuit.
“A lot of people are comfortable with familiarity. Kids could say, ‘I would feel welcome that I’m not just an athlete — I’m part of a community,'” Ed Smith, Maker’s guardian, told ESPN recently. “On the visit at Howard, that was the main difference. Just for me on the outside looking in, he’s part of the fabric. You’re not just the athlete or the Black athlete.”
Young, Black, Gifted Athletes Empowering Themselves
Maker’s power move is just one in a series of cultural changes designed to end systemic racism at every level of American society that are occurring across this country.
“I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream ‘what if,'” Maker wrote on Twitter. “I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney.”
It only takes one boss player to take that risk and be successful. The rest will follow. Especially with the climate of the country in its current state. There’s no better time to start infusing elite Black talent into HBCU’s and allowing institutions designed towards enhancing black culture and building Black minds to benefit from the visibility and revenue-generating potential of a future NBA lottery pick.
Who’s Next To Flex And Choose An HBCU?
Now that Maker has committed to blazing a new recruiting trail for HBCU’s and he’s already recruiting other players, we can seriously revisit some other future stars whose names have been associated with HBCU’s.
There were rumors that Bronny James was considering an HBCU for one season, before jumping to the pros when the three seasons remaining in his high school career expires. Steven Gaithers reported back in January that North Carolina Central had offered Bronny a scholarship.
In the aftermath of national mobilization against social injustice, systemic racism and police brutality, inspired by the killing of George Floyd, San Diego’s Mikey Williams a project NBA lottery pick in 2023, hinted that he wouldn’t be against attending an HBCU and he offered a very reflective, mature and informed caption to go with his IG post.
Can you imagine Mikey Williams and Bronny James playing on the same HBCU team? The entire game would change and for the first time in history, a Black college would be competing with the Power Schools for marketability, attraction, TV burn and future elite recruits.
About to make folks mad with this!!🗣 #HBCU
— Mikey Williams (@619PRESIDENTIAL) July 2, 2020
It’s quite a thought and would definitely be one of the most game changing, culture-shifting and self-empowering moves ever made by two high school athletes. I can totally see the son of LeBron James understanding the impact that move could have. Williams is a product of Generation Z’s heightened social consciousness and commitment to diversity and advocacy.
Maker doesn’t need to be an aberration. Others can and will join him. It’s the players who make the game, not the universities. If we are tearing down statues, changing names of NFL teams and taking the names of racists off of awards, then the time is now to crumble the exploitative and oppressive NCAA system that allows Power Schools to pick from the finest Black athletes in the country while refusing to replenish their communities or address the systemic racism that leaves many capable Black people behind.