Howard men’s basketball aims to end 30-year NCAA tournament drought

Howard men’s basketball aims to end 30-year NCAA tournament drought


As a nationwide champion whereas taking part in at Duke within the early 90s, Howard males’s basketball coach Kenny Blakeney hasn’t forgotten that the Burr Gymnasium rafters maintain extra retired jerseys (12 ) than NCAA match banners (two). Neither is he blind to the notion that Howard is incapable of turning into a hotbed for athletics.

However since becoming a member of this system in Could 2019, Blakeney has made it a precedence to alter that.

Whether or not it is strolling the sidelines in Balenciaga jerseys and fresh-off Jordans or embracing a fast-paced model of basketball, the change has been plain. Three years later, the Bison have already signed a five-star rookie, raised sufficient cash to construct coaching grounds, inked a profitable cope with Jordan Model and completed with a profitable report for the primary time since 2002.

“It is about creating a picture and an id, one thing you possibly can cling your hat on,” Blakeney mentioned. “The concept Howard cannot have massive amenities or win championships or grow to be a family identify has been accepted for too lengthy. We will do it right here and we’ll do it right here.

Getting into its fourth 12 months, the Bison has actual expectations.

Final season, Howard received the second seed within the MEAC Event however failed to succeed in the playoffs after being upset by Coppin State within the first spherical.

“Final 12 months was an excellent first step for us, however clearly it did not finish the best way we hoped with a loss to a Coppin workforce that we thought was higher,” mentioned junior Steve Settle III. . “If you finish like that it takes away a number of the pleasure of the whole lot we have achieved, however we predict it may nonetheless be an excellent base for us to maintain constructing on this season.”

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Settle III (13.8 ppg) tasks because the main scorer for a workforce that fires two of its prime 4 scorers from a season in the past and will add a 3rd, Randall Brumant, pending attraction of the NCAA, however with out main scorer and sharpshooter Kyle Foster (15.8 factors per recreation).

The Bison will look to second Elijah Hawkins (13 ppg) in addition to transfers Kobe Dickson (Cornell) and former Sidwell Mates Jelani Williams (Penn) to assist exchange Foster’s rating.

“Shedding a particular participant like Kyle is so tough as a result of he did a lot for us final season,” Blakeney mentioned. “However I believe we have now a couple of guys who can step in to fill the void in our assault that he left behind.”

In two video games, Howard (1-1) was a bit combined. After pushing Energy 5 applications like Villanova and Notre Dame final season, the Bison have been crushed by a Kentucky workforce lacking three projected starters, together with 2022 Naismith Participant of the Yr Oscar Tshiebwe, within the opening recreation of Monday, 95-63.

Minus Hawkins, the 2022 MEAC Rookie of the Yr, Howard used a second-half surge from Settle (19 factors, seven rebounds) and junior Jordan Wooden (19 factors, 9 rebounds) to maneuver previous the College of DC ( Division II) 87-74 Wednesday – after main 37-36 at halftime.

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For Wooden, a participant the workforce considers its X-factor, Wednesday’s efficiency was a pleasant rebound after he went 1-12 on the sector at Kentucky. As a freshman, Wooden was averaging just below 10 factors per recreation earlier than the the season was stopped due to an outbreak of coronavirus throughout the workforce. However final 12 months he scored simply 2.7 factors per recreation as his confidence wavered all year long.

This summer time, Blakeney challenged Wooden to run a marathon in hopes that conducting one thing tough exterior of basketball would enhance his confidence on the courtroom.

“J-Wooden has all the mandatory instruments,” Settle III mentioned. “When it is on, it unlocks [another] measurement for our workforce. All of us consider that its breakthrough is imminent. We see it each day in observe.

If the Bison need to finish their 30-year drought in NCAA tournaments, they’re going to have to guard the ball. Howard completed the season with a unfavorable assist-to-rotation ratio, 14.3 assists per recreation for 14.7 rotations per recreation. His 14.7 turnovers per recreation rank twenty eighth nationally.

The Bisons’ turnover points performed a key position within the workforce’s 2-7 report in a single possession video games.

“We simply must hold it easy,” Settle mentioned. “I believe typically we will all get caught up in hitting the house run and that may be an excellent factor and a foul factor. Like sure, you continue to need to make the best play, however including that little further spice to it and aiming for the large play also can assist. We simply have to search out the best stability and be taught to decide on our spots as an alternative of creating it a behavior as a result of to get the place we need to go we have now to start out valuing the ball.

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