Showdown to be Televised February 19 During NBA All-Star Weekend
Howard University [HU] and Morgan State University will locks heads in the first-ever NBA HBCU Classic in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 19 during the NBA All Star Classic. The game tips off at 2 p.m. and will be televised on both TNT and ESPN2.
The opponents, both from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, feature Morgan State’s preseason player of the year, De’Torrion Ware and Howard’s sharpshooter, Kyle Foster, who boasts an average of 16 points per game and counts as one of nation’s top three-point shooters at 50% per game.
The two HBCU teams met on January 22 in Baltimore where the HU Bison emerged victorious, 91-82.
As part of sponsorships provided by the NBA and AT&T, each business will donate $100,000 to the two universities’ athletic departments to support facility upgrades, student-athlete academic resources and health and wellness services.
“This is a part of our ongoing commitment to HBCUs with the NBA in collaboration of the game and we’re very excited,” said Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of basketball operations.
“Not only do we have a rivalry between the two institutions, it gives the student athletes and their schools an opportunity to get greater exposure. The NBA is proud to be a part of this venture and look to forward to continuing it for years to come,” he said.
Several stories about the two teams add even more color to the game.
Howard University’s head coach, Kenny Blakeney, played at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. and hails from the DMV area. Additionally, Morgan State’s coach, Kevin Broadus, also grew up in the Greater Washington Area and served as an assistant coach at both Georgetown and the University of Maryland.
“What a great opportunity for two HBCUs to play on this stage,” Blakeney said. “The NBA has stepped up its effort by initiating this event and it doesn’t get any bigger than this – playing on national TV during the All Star weekend.”
Broadus concurred, saying “this is like an opportunity of a lifetime for these young men and it gives a national audience a chance to see our programs in action. You cannot put a price on this kind of exposure that will bring greater attention to our schools, alumni and all HBCUs.”
Foster and Malik Miller, both seniors at Morgan State, admitted they’ve imagined having this kind of opportunity to represent their university.
“HBCUs rarely get this kind of attention and it’s a chance for us to really live in the moment,” said Foster, who leads the MEAC in scoring.
“This is really a blessing and to get this kind of exposure on such a big stage is unbelievable,” Malik said.