The short answer to that question is yes.
From high school basketball phenom Mikey Williams and five-star rising senior Trevor Keels to five-star rising junior Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and top-tier junior college prospect El Ellis, elite basketball prospects are considering HBCUs as their stomping grounds at the next level.
Ellis, who included North Carolina Central University on his final list, ultimately decided to attend Louisville. But it’s the thought that counts.
There’s a new trend of historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, getting into the game for elite-level basketball recruits, ESPN reports. But does it have any staying power?
“All it takes is one person to change history,” Carmelo Anthony said in regards to the young and talented basketball prospects during an Instagram Live session. He was responding to Williams tweet about how choosing “an HBCU wouldn’t be too bad” at all as far as he is concerned.
“I think it’s a better chance of this new generation, this next generation, to go to a HBCU and be accepted and bring something different to a HBCU, as opposed to what was happening in 2002,” Anthony continued. “Do I think that a kid like Mikey Williams should consider a HBCU? I think he should, based off of the power that he has within himself. If he [does] that, it changes college sports because you have a young black kid at the top of his game who decided to go to a black university. That’s totally different.”
So it seems that the longer answer to that question is that we just have to wait to see who’s smart enough to make that big move, no doubt making history and disrupting the system.
“I think it would change the culture forever,” Huntley-Hatfield said, according to ESPN. “It would change the game of basketball altogether, if one of us chose a different pathway to make our dream come true and help our community. It just opens up a whole new bridge of opportunity. I feel like it would be a domino effect.”
“The conversation between HBCUs and high-major players is different now than it has been over the past couple of years. It’s different than it was even a few weeks ago. The past month has seen a wave of protests and outrage over racial injustice, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died on May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis police.”
Here’s what HBCU coaches are saying about top-rated basketball prospects potentially joining black colleges:
- North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton: “When we look back 40 years from now, we’ll realize this was a historical and monumental time. This will be in the history books — this is the day the world changed. The movement feels different. … They’re tired of the status quo and the ‘in vogue’ and what’s happening. They want to reclaim their power. We need to care about us. It shouldn’t be a crime that I want to go support my own. Any change in this country, it starts with young people. This isn’t dying down.”
- Howard coach Kenny Blakeney: “With LeBron and Kaepernick, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, they’ve seen athletes take stands, which is a lot different from our generation. Our generation didn’t want to be politically active; they didn’t want to be social activists. They didn’t want to ruffle feathers. These young men are seeing this in real time, throughout their life.”
- Tennessee State coach Brian “Penny” Collins: “Because of what’s going on in the world right now, attention goes directly to the African American community and how we can make it better. Playing for those universities, they make those universities better. There’s a sentiment to do whatever they can to help their community. This is just one of the things on the list.”