Howard men's basketball is in the running for arguably the program's biggest recruit in its history.
On Thursday, 2020 consensus five-star recruit Makur Maker, cousin of NBA star Thon Maker, announced that the Bison are amongst his final four teams he is considering. UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis make out his list.
I'll be deciding my College destination next week. My final 4 colleges are Howard, UCLA, Kentucky, and Memphis. #MakerMob
— Makur Maker (@MakurMaker) July 2, 2020
Just to be in the same breath of those programs and to be an option for a player that has the upside of Maker is a huge boost to school. But on a larger scale, it is signaling that the wave of top Black basketball prospects weighing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as an option will continue.
Last month, one of the top recruits of the 2023 class Mikey Williams -- who has wowed followers on Twitter with his highlight videos -- tweeted, "Going to an HBCU wouldn't be too bad..." That sparked a massive amount of traction on social media and even contributed to HBCUs reaching out to other five-star prospects. Two five-star prospects picked up new offers from HBCUs in the weeks that followed, according to ESPN.
And it didn't stop there, four-star Nate Tabor actually signed with Norfolk State.
Thursday, Williams -- with a new Twitter account -- doubled down. He sent two more tweets indicating that an HBCU is an option, or to tip off the Maker news that was coming out later.
I'm going to change the world🙏🏽
— Mikey Williams (@619PRESIDENTIAL) July 2, 2020
Howard's recruitment of Maker is not a part of this new trend from the past month. The Bison have been in on the 6-foot-11 center since 2019. In October, he made his official visit to the school.
Listing them in a four-team grouping and committing are two separate things, too. The other teams on the list have far more national prominence and resources compared to Howard. Going to Kentucky or Memphis would boost his profile and better prepare him for the NBA. And, there's also the option of him turning professional -- which has led Oregon and Kentucky, to an extent, to tone back their recruitment, according to Forbes.
Choosing Howard, though, would be a gamechanger to HBCU basketball. He might be HBCUs' biggest prospect since Ben Wallace when he went to Virginia Union in the 1990s. Singlehandedly, he would vault Howard into relevancy from a 4-29 season last year and pack gyms across the East Coast in the MEAC.
It would also open up doors for other elite prospects to join the wave. Help turn the schools from the long-overlooked MEAC and SWAC (the two biggest HBCU Division I conferences) to actually having a stronghold in the college basketball community.
Nothing is set in stone until Maker makes his decision. The allure of a Power 5 program with all the amenities could win him over, so could jumping to the professional ranks. But for now, Howard is in the running and so is the option to take a path less traveled.
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