Howard University Basketball Has Bright Future

Howard University Basketball Has Bright Future


Howard University basketball has bright future

Howard University's basketball program has an exciting future. Its stellar alumni list includes Academy Award winners, MacArthur Genius Grant recipients, civil rights leaders and countless other luminaries who are widely regarded as world-changers. With such a storied past comes great promise for its future success in the game of basketball.

That legacy has helped propel the Bison to the NCAA tournament - but it didn't happen overnight.


Howard University basketball has a bright future. As one of only two HBCUs to make this year's NCAA Tournament, the Bison are set to face Kansas on Thursday afternoon.

Elijah Hawkins, Steve Settle III and Shy Odom are three key returning pieces for the program. Not only are they talented players with great leadership abilities, but they also possess an edge that will be needed when competing against some of America's top teams.

Sophomore point guard Hawkins leads the team in scoring at 13 points per game and averages 5.9 assists per game this season. His teammates are certain he'll be instrumental to their success this year, and are counting on him as one of their go-to players.

Junior guard Settle has been a major factor this season, averaging 15 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. His teammates are confident that he'll be ready for the Big Dance.

Senior forward Dajuan Harris has been an integral part of this season's comeback, averaging 10.4 points and 6.8 rebounds. A powerful rebounder, Harris is working hard to hone his defensive abilities.

Blakeney is a veteran coach, having served at both Division II and I levels. Prior to coming to Howard, he served as assistant at Monmouth University for four years and head coach of Division III Hardin-Simmons in Abilene, Texas for seven years.

He coached 23 academic all-conference selections and 16 All-West Division honorees during his time at HSU, aiding the Cowboys to their first American Southwest Conference Tournament appearance.

When speaking to Howard's former players, one consistent theme emerged: They cherish their school and are immensely proud of what they've achieved in life. Additionally, they express gratitude for the basketball experience they gained at Howard which will serve them well throughout their college careers and beyond.

Howard University consistently ranks among the best in America, which speaks volumes about their academic program and reputation for academic excellence. It's no surprise that Howard can compete with such elite institutions.


Howard University basketball has become a force on and off the court, showing its support for advocacy as well. One example is their annual Day of Service event which honors Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy by giving back to local communities. This year, Howard University basketball joined forces with Mamatoto Village to package 8,000 care packages for Black mothers in need.

It's an inspiring way to demonstrate that athletes possess more than physical gifts; they also have a responsibility towards their families and communities. UNINTERRUPTED, a media outlet focused on sports, was inspired by this project and decided to feature it in a 12-minute documentary.

This organization seeks to empower expectant and new Black mothers by offering career pathways in maternal health and providing perinatal support services. With strong community and corporate backing, they plan on expanding their services in a state-of-the-art facility soon.

Beyond their mission of supporting expectant and new mothers, the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards also provide scholarships to high-achieving students. This week, Aniya Majors-Rivera and NaKeisha Rawlings were delighted by $7,500 scholarships funded by both teams: Golden State Warriors & Washington Wizards!

These scholarships have allowed them to fulfill their ambition of attending law school and becoming legal experts. Furthermore, they have been able to continue their work towards improving Black women's health in the community.

HBCUs have a proud tradition of academic excellence and have produced some of the nation's most esteemed thinkers, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Furthermore, according to United Negro College Fund estimates, they generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually.

However, despite their impressive academics, HBCUs often struggle financially. Attracting top-tier athletes could help them attract more fans and revenue. Furthermore, it would enable them to raise their profile in a world where race and racial equity are hot topics on both political and sports stages.

Due to this trend, HBCUs have begun recruiting more highly-ranked athletes. This summer, Korey Foreman from California, Michigan's Trey Fisher and Arizona's Makur Maker all committed to HBCUs - marking a turning point in which high-profile Black athletes are choosing to attend an Historically Black College or University over other schools.


For years, the men's basketball program at a highly respected historically black college or university (HBCU) in one of America's most beloved college towns has struggled to overcome the adversity that has beset it. Their last NCAA tournament victory came in 1992 and they haven't had a winning season for nearly two decades.

Kenny Blakeney, the new coach at Howard, has turned things around and his team is on its way to winning its first regular-season and tournament titles in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Their outlook for 2022-23 looks bright as they prepare for another successful year under his leadership.

Blakeney's team, which is set to open the MEAC season at Michigan on November 7, must rely on both experience and youth. He'll need a stable of veteran transfers from around the country as his core group, but also looks to freshman Elijah Hawkins and sophomore Khalil Robinson for leadership roles.

Hawkins, who attended DeMatha High School in Washington, D.C., leads his team in scoring at 13.0 points per game while shooting 44% from the field. He's an effective assist man and shooter from the free-throw line; moreover, Hawkins has emerged as an impressive perimeter threat with 52 made three-pointers.

He'll need to help guide the team through a demanding schedule that includes games against Virginia Tech, Kentucky, VCU and Georgetown. Although it presents an intimidating challenge, the Bison are confident they can achieve success thanks to their depth.

Other players who bring an intellectual edge and inspiration to the court include seniors Dalique Mingo, Kofi Andoh, Cameron Lewis and James Tease. Each of them grew up with a specific goal in mind and hope their studies at Howard will help them reach it.

They'll have the benefit of playing for a coach who, like their mentor Mike Krzyzewski, understands the delicate balance between winning and developing players while maintaining an encouraging culture on the court. If Blakeney can continue to achieve this success, HBCU basketball could become a national powerhouse.


Basketball at Howard is always fraught with competition, and that spirit has been especially evident this season.

At 22-12, the team has their first winning record in 31 years and advanced to March Madness by defeating Norfolk State during the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) tournament Saturday. This was also Bison's third NCAA Tournament appearance overall.

Gaining this point has been a long journey, but Blakeney - a DC native and graduate of DeMatha High School - was instrumental in recruiting larger players who have demonstrated perseverance and dedication.

One such player is Elijah Hawkins, who has made great progress this season. On Feb. 18 against Coppin State University he had 20 points and nine assists for a win that gave him an excellent chance at becoming one of the program's top point guards.

Jordan Wood, a junior forward who's been instrumental in the team's recent success, can also provide assistance. He has made significant improvements from last year in every statistical category and now starts in the starting lineup. Furthermore, he's taken better care of the ball and improved his playmaking capabilities.

Howard University boasts an array of sports programs in addition to basketball. The men's swimming and diving team won the Northeast Conference Championship in February, while the softball team tied for a MEAC title this past spring.

This marks the first time in school history that an HBCU team has won a conference championship and qualified for multiple sports in the NCAA tournament - an impressive accomplishment!

Furthermore, the fact that these teams are bringing in top-notch talent shows HBCUs can have competitive teams too - something other schools have had difficulty doing and something HBCUs must continue striving for.

Though I may be biased as an alum, there's much to be proud of about Howard University basketball's future. The men's team has a bright future, while the women's squad looks set for even greater success in the near future.

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