On Friday morning (July 3), five-star recruit Makur Maker announced his commitment to Howard University, making him the highest-ranked college basketball prospect to commit to an HBCU since the ESPN recruiting database began in 2007. According to Maker’s twitter, he chose Howard over UCLA, University of Kentucky and University of Memphis in an effort to inspire other five-star players to commit to historically black colleges or universities.
“I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other started to dream ‘what if,’” Maker tweeted. “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.”
According to ESPN, Mikey Williams is a shooting guard from San Ysidro, California who has not committed to a university yet.
“I want to thank Coach Cal and Coach KP of University of Kentucky Coach Cronin of UCLA and coach Hardaway of Memphis for considering me. It was a tough choice,” Maker wrote in another tweet.
“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,’” Maker’s guardian Ed Smith told ESPN of his decision. “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.”
According to the ESPN database, Maker — a 6-foot-11 center — is ranked at No. 16 in the ESPN 100 for this year. He’s also ranked at No. 27 in the sports outlet’s draft rankings. If selected in the NBA draft, he would be the first HBCU athlete since Kyle O’Quinn from Norfolk State University in 2012. Maker is also the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker.
Quality Control co-founder Kevin “Coach K” Lee applauded Maker’s decision on Instagram.
“I commend this kid for choosing a HBCU. I hope this starts the trend,” he posted. “[Makur Maker] chose Howard University over UCLA, along with Kentucky and Memphis who were also on his final list of four. Let’s Support The HBCU.”
See some more reactions to Maker’s commitment below.