Bears' Tarik Cohen hopes top basketball recruit Mikey Williams plays at an HBCU

JJ Stankevitz
NBC Sports Chicago

Back in 2018, Tarik Cohen joined Jerry Rice as the only players in NFL history with 150 receiving yards, 12 receptions and a passing touchdown in a game. It was special to Cohen, since like Rice, he played his college ball at an HBCU. 

"I just want to keep showing people that there are players at HBCUs, so everybody should scout them more," Cohen, who played at North Carolina A&T, said. "And then players coming out of high school should also respect the HBCUs more and choose them as an option."

Cohen was talking about football back then. But he also knows what's going on right now with Mikey Williams, the No. 1 high school basketball recruit in the class of 2023. Williams last month made waves when he said he'd consider playing for an HBCU instead of one of college basketball's traditional powerhouses. 

"Not saying he needs this or wants this, but he'd gain a lot of respect from guys who went to HBCU's before him," Cohen said. "Not just my generation – the older guys. The oldheads, so to say, who paved the way for us. And then he can start paving the way again."

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Cohen feels like basketball players like Williams can shine a positive light on the United States' 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Basketball players can be one-and-done in college, and having an opulent state-of-the-art facility - like you'd find at Alabama or Clemson - isn't as important in recruiting top athletes to campus. 

Count Cohen, though, among those rooting for Williams to play at an HBCU in a few years. 

"The facilities in bigger schools are just lightyears ahead of what we have at HBCUs, so it's going to take some time for (football)," Cohen said. "But I feel like for basketball, it can start right now because all you need is a basketball and a goal and you can practice. 

"I feel like for him to even say that and shine light on HBCUs, it's great because some people don't even know what they are." 

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Bears' Tarik Cohen hopes top basketball recruit Mikey Williams plays at an HBCU originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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