Wolfpack Will Get Firsthand Look at Historic HBCU Commit Maker

Brett Friedlander

Five-star big man Makur Maker made headlines on Friday when he became the highest-rated basketball recruit to commit to a Historically Black College or University.

But his decision to shun the likes of Kentucky, UCLA and Memphis and play for Howard University should be of particular interest to NC State and its fans.

That’s because according to CBS Sports analyst Jon Rothstein, Maker and the Bison are scheduled to play the Wolfpack in Raleigh this season -- assuming, of course, that a nonconference schedule is played.

Rothstein Tweeted the news back on April 5.

The game could potentially be a preliminary contest to the Empire Classic, a tournament whose main bracket will feature State, Villanova, Michigan and Baylor at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Nov. 19-20.

Normally, such a game would be played as a “Heritage Game” at Reynolds Coliseum. But because of increased interest generated by Maker’s participation in the game, it might end up at PNC Arena instead.

The 6-foot-11 Maker averaged 17.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game last season for Hillside Prep in Phoenix, Ariz. The native of Kenya who grew up in Australia is currently entered in the NBA draft, but is expected to withdraw his name and play next season in college.

His addition to Howard’s lineup should significantly improve State’s strength of schedule, which otherwise would have taken a hit because of the Mid-East Athletic Conference opponent.

The Bison went 3-28 in 2019-20 and were ranked 349th out of 353 Division I men’s basketball programs nationally when the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the Wolfpack has yet to release its complete nonconference basketball schedule for 2020-21, coach Kevin Keatts’ is also reported to have games scheduled against American University and Radford.

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