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Five-star college basketball recruit Makur Maker has announced his commitment to Howard University.
He shared the news online on Friday, writing on Twitter, “I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other started to dream “what if”. 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’s decision makes him the highest-ranked college basketball recruit—the first five-star prospect—to commit to a historically Black college or university since ESPN launched its recruiting database in 2007. He was ultimately choosing between Howard, UCLA, Kentucky, and Memphis. The star athlete visited Howard last fall.
“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,’” Ed Smith, Maker's guardian, told ESPN. “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.”
Standing at 6' 11", Maker is a skilled front-court player who is ranked No. 16 in the ESPN 100 for 2020, and No. 75 in ESPN’s NBA draft rankings. He’s been declared eligible for the 2020 NBA draft but will probably withdraw his name from consideration if he isn’t anticipated to be a first-round pick. If he is selected in the NBA draft, he would be the first HBCU athlete since Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn in 2012.
Blakeney spoke with ESPN about why it's critical for a five-star prospect to succeed at an HBCU. “Wherever a five-star lands, we can't mess it up,” Blakeney said. “If we mess it up, we may not have another opportunity to be able to do it.”
Maker is the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker. The young athlete was born in Kenya before moving to Australia, then to California in 2015.