HU! You know!
Five-star athlete Makur Maker makes history as the highest ranked college basketball prospect to commit to an HBCU after announcing his choice to attend Howard University, ESPN reports.
Maker is a 6-foot-11 basketball powerhouse ranked No. 16 in ESPN’s top 100 for 2020. The Kenyan native moved to California in 2015, making a name for himself as a versatile player, averaging 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds with a 73% shooting range. Last fall, Maker visited Howard University along with other top recruits, re-igniting conversations about the importance of Black college athletes committing to Black schools.
Former ESPN host Jemele Hill wrote an article last year calling for Black athletes to leave white colleges. In her article, Hill cited the $100 million Division I schools make in revenue annually, while boasting 55% of Black football players and 56% of Black basketball players while only making up 2.4% of the Black student population on these same campuses. Also noted in the article is the fact that HBCUs make up only 3% of four year colleges in the nation while producing 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black lawyers, 40% of Black engineers, 40% of Black members of Congress, and 13% of Black CEOs.
Yet and still, our universities are struggling, primarily due to lack of investment. Hill makes the case that since many of these predominantly white institutions have gained billions in revenue “largely on the exertions of (uncompensated) black athletes,” it is time for those same athletes to take a good look at how their power and influence could better serve their own communities by committing to schools who historically have a vested interest in them outside of their athletic capabilities.
Maker decided to step up and be the first, choosing Howard University over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. “I was the first to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream ‘what if.’ 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,” Maker wrote on Twitter.
I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other started to dream “what if”. 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 #MakerMob— Makur Maker (@MakurMaker) July 3, 2020
Ed Smith, Maker’s guardian said he chose Howard because he felt like he belonged, even outside of sports. “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. 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,” Smith said.
Coach Blakeney said Maker’s decision has huge implications for other athletes and the University and expressed his commitment to the young athlete’s success. “Wherever a five-star lands, we can’t mess it up. If we mess it up, we may not have another opportunity to be able to do it,” Blakeney told ESPN.
Maker expressed his thanks to his family in helping him to make his decision, including his cousins, Detroit Pistons forward, Thon Maker and Australian Basketball Player Matur Maker.
“First of all I’d like to thank my family and friends for being here with me on this journey. I especially would like to thank my parents for believing in me and my siblings for sticking by me always, as well as my cousins Thon and Matur for supporting me. I am honored to be mentored by coach Edward Smith who shared and supported my vision of attending Howard u. Without the help and guidance from them and contributions from all of my coaches and teammates along the way, I wouldn’t be in the position to chase my dreams,” Maker said.
Congratulations Makur!! #MakerMob
Photo Courtesy of @makurmaker1/Instagram