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  • Chappell Wilson

Howard wins MEAC Championship

Howard University is known for many things and is viewed as one of the most prestigious HBCUs. The popularity of the university did not seem to help the basketball program at all, as prior to last season, the Bison went 31 long years without entering the NCAA tournament. The majority of the credit must go to Head Coach Kenneth Blakeney. He stepped into this university with all the odds stacked against him, but he immediately improved the team and let them reach their first winning record since 2001 in only his third season (2021). Since the team’s first winning season in 2021, they have gone on to win back-to-back MEAC conference

championships.


The university believes in Coach Blakeney due to not only his commitment to his team but also his ability to recruit from the DMV area, thanks to his being born and raised in Washington, DC. Coach Blakeney knows what great coaching looks like because he played for Head Coach Morgan Wooten, who happens to be the all-time winningest high school coach in history. The basketball knowledge didn’t just stop there for Coach Blakeney; it continued at Duke University when he played for Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.


Recruiting is arguably the biggest challenge and most important part of coaching in college sports, but when used properly, recruiting can turn any program around in a blink of an eye, and that’s exactly what Coach Blakeney and his staff did. The transfer portal helped the coaching staff recruit players who were signed to Power Five universities. The signing of six-foot-nine forward Seth Towns, who was previously playing for Ohio State, proved to be huge, as he led the team in scoring for the majority of the season.


Throughout this season, nobody was able to separate themselves in the MEAC conference. Howard was right in the thick of things, finishing the regular season with the third-best record in the conference, going 18-16. The road to March Madness was clear in plain sight for Howard, as they knew the only way in was by winning their conference tournament. The Bison didn’t make things easy on themselves, as they trailed in the second half of the semifinals and the conference championship, but they showed resilience and determination by pressing forward and coming out victorious. Entering the NCAA tournament, the Bison will more than likely be a 16-seed, just like last year when they were humiliated by the Kansas Jayhawks. This time around, Howard will be trying to join the history books as only the second 16th seed to ever upset a number one seed. Luckily, we are only less than a month away from seeing if they can actually come away with a huge upset. Win or lose, everyone should be taking notice of what’s happening with this program, and I personally believe there’s more to come.



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