Even before the recent spike in interest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities from elite basketball prospects in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, Makur Maker took a visit to Howard.
That part was rare, but it wasn’t the first time an elite prospect made a visit to a HBCU.
On Friday, the 7-foot center separated himself as a trailblazer, committing to Howard over Memphis, Kentucky and UCLA.
"I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other started to dream 'what if,'" 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 & coach Kenny Blakeney."
Maker, widely regarded as a top 20 player in the 2020 class, is the highest rated player in the modern recruiting era to commit to a HBCU.
Maker's call to Williams, a 2023 star from Ysidro High School (San Diego) with NBA buzz, was because of Williams’ tweet two weeks ago: “Going to an HBCU wouldn’t be too bad…”
That tweet prompted a flurry of offers from HBCU like North Carolina Central, Alabama State, Delaware State, Grambling State, Howard, Morehouse and others.
Last week, arguably the top high school basketball prospect in 2023, Elijah Fisher told Sports Illustrated that “as a young black teenager there should be more honor in getting an offer from a HBCU.”
“Our black schools are elite too,” said Fisher, a combo guard from Crestwood Prep (Can.). “We have to change that way of thinking that only certain schools are big time offers. I was excited that (Morgan State) offered me. I feel like someone just needs to make a big move.”
Recently, North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton told Sport Illustrated the story of how he nearly landed Washington Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.
Wall took an unofficial visit to NCCU in 2009, but in the end, he went on to commit to Kentucky and a year later he went No. 1 overall in the NBA draft to the Washington Wizards.
“Coach (John) Cal is a wonderful guy and he’s done right by him, but I think that would’ve been one of the ones that provoked change,” Moton told SI. “He would’ve been a trailblazer and a pioneer, and we would know recruiting a little different if he would’ve made that decision.”
Maker has delivered in that regard.
This past season at Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.), Maker averaged 17.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game for the Bruins in 12 games.
Maker did enter his name into the NBA draft, but multiple sources tell Sports Illustrated that he will withdraw his name eventually. Maker isn’t projected to be drafted in the latest SI Mock Draft for 2020.