A few months ago, it seemed unlikely that Makur Maker would ever play college basketball. Now, he is about to make college basketball history. The five-star center from the Class of 2020 committed to play for Howard University on Friday, making him the highest-rated player to commit to an HBCU in the 247Sports era.
Maker chose Howard over Kentucky, Memphis and UCLA, making the announcement on Twitter early Friday morning.
"I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow," Maker wrote. "I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney #MakerMob"
Williams is a highly-rated class of 2023 prospect who is also considering HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). He responded to Maker's commitment announcement by tweeting, "On your side my boy let's shock the world!!!"
Maker could be a transformative player for Howard, which is coming off a four-win season under first-year coach Kenneth Blakeney, a former team captain at Duke who is tasked with changing the program's trajectory. The Bison have not finished with a winning record since the 2001-02 season.
Landing Maker should help. At 6-foot-11, he's equally comfortable shooting 3-pointers or facilitating the offense from the top of the key as he is receiving an entry pass in the post and backing a defender down. Maker's cousin, Thon Maker, is a center for the Pistons with a similar build.
As recently as late April, Makur Maker planned to enter this year's NBA Draft. ESPN reported he received permission to be draft-eligible since he was just two credits shy of graduating high school in 2019.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating any fresh chances for Maker to be seen in-person by scouts at events such as the combine or team workouts, going to college will give him a chance to build out his player profile and boost his draft stock. In the process, he is set to make history and be a trendsetter for other top prospects who previously may not have considered the HBCU route.