In a positive trend that might catch steam, players of color are deciding to take their talents to HBCU’s over predominantly white institutions (PWI) Division I programs.
Five-star senior Makur Maker announced his commitment to Howard on Friday morning.
He becomes one of the highest-ranked prospect to commit to a historically Black college or university.
Maker chose the Bison over the UCLA Bruins. However, Kentucky and Memphis were also on his final list of four.
“I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other 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.”
“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.
“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.”
Maker is a versatile 6-foot-11 front court player. He is ranked No. 16 in the ESPN 100 for 2020.
He also entered his name into the NBA draft, but he is likely to withdraw if he’s not expected to be a first-round pick. There have been links between Maker and the G League, but according to reports, he isn’t interested.
Maker five star recruit to attend an HBCU since Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State) in 2012. But over the past couple of months, HBCUs have become more assertive in recruiting top-tier high school talent, especially in the 2021 and 2022 classes.
Howard basketball Coach Kenny Blakeney took over at Howard before last season.
“Wherever a five-star lands, we can’t mess it up,” Blakeney said to ESPN. “If we mess it up, we may not have another opportunity to be able to do it.”
Maker, the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker, was born in Kenya before moving to Australia.
He moved to California in 2015. Maker averaged 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 73% on 2-pointers last spring and summer with Dream Vision on the Adidas grassroots circuit.