By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
mgray@afro.com

Following the George Floyd killing, elite prospects have expressed a renewed interest in competing at Black Colleges.  It was only a matter of time before one transcendent blue chip high school basketball player would sign at an HBCU and change the landscape of college basketball forever.  Howard University may have authored a seismic shift last week by landing five-star recruit, Makur Maker – the sixth ranked overall prospect in the nation.

In making his announcement 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 and coach Kenny Blakeney.”

In the wake of continued systemic racism, top rated high school athletes, such as Makur Maker, who is going to Howard University, are choosing HBCU sports programs. (Courtesy Photo)

Maker, whose cousin Thon Maker plays for the Detroit Pistons, is a 6’11” power forward that was considered the sixth best overall player in America.  There were many analysts who expected that he would forego playing college basketball and head to the pros overseas for at least one season because he was rated by NBA scouts as the 75th best prospect in this year’s draft.  However, Maker signing with Howard marks the highest rated prospect in high school to sign with an HBCU program since ESPN began rating prospects in 2007.

This signing comes as HBCU programs are being considered by top athletes around the country.  The norm has traditionally been as a transfer looking for a better option when circumstances change – such as a new coach, a lack of playing time or injury.  However, Maker’s decision could change the fault lines in basketball recruiting where it takes fewer difference making players to catapult a program such as Howard’s into national prominence.

“HBCU athletics should always be a major consideration for all elite athletes,” Morgan State head basketball coach Kevin Broadus said to the {AFRO}.  “You get the same competition. Everyone plays on the same 94-foot court and there is nothing like the overall HBCU college experience.”

Morgan took the conventional route to land what appears to be a difference maker in their program by signing former Wake Forest guard Sharone Wright, Jr.  Wright is the son of former 10-year NBA veteran Sharone Wright and is expected to make an immediate contribution at the guard position if he is eligible to play this season.  

“I’ve been thinking about this some time now and it has been a difficult time for many people, but mainly us as African-Americans,” Wright tweeted. “It’s saddening to me to know the world will always be this way towards us whether we play a sport or not. It doesn’t matter.”

However, Morgan is being “strongly considered” by blue chip prospect Elijah Fisher for their 2023 recruiting class.  A Toronto, Canada native, Fisher is already receiving heavy interest from major programs including schools like Kansas, Arizona, Florida State, Kentucky, USC, Georgia Tech. He reportedly has received an offer from Morgan and it is believed that he likes the thought of continuing his education on an HBCU campus.