It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through the college football season and college basketball is just a month away. The local men’s and women’s teams have already begun pre-season practices.
As Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country gear up to compete on the hardwood, in hopes of winning the coveted championship title, here’s a roundup of some of the local HBCU men’s and women’s teams:
Howard University Men
During the 2022-23 season, Howard University men’s team had its best record in 30 years, winning the MEAC regular season and tournament title and its trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bison had reason to be excited about the surge of the program as all five starters were returning. However, the transfer portal temporarily dampened their enthusiasm as three starters, including first team all-MEAC (Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference) point Elijah Hawkins, decided to transfer to the University of Minnesota. Second team all-conference selection Steve Settle III (Temple) and Jordan Wood (Tulane) also moved on.
But cry no tears for the Bison, who may be even better this season with a nucleus of outstanding returnees and a group of talented incoming players.
Leading the way is Shyheim “Shy” Odom, a 6-foot-6 sophomore forward from Roxbury, Massachusetts, who got better as the season progressed and was named both the Rookie of the Year and tournament MVP as a freshman. There is a consensus that he is one of the dominant players in the conference. The Bison also return junior guard/forward Bryce Harris, who played an integral role down the stretch and in the tournament. Sharpshooter Marcus Dockery, a 6-foot-2 junior from Washington, D.C., is one of the premier three-point shooters in the MEAC.
The incoming group that fans hope to help the program continue its winning ways include Seth Towns, a 6-foot-8 graduate forward, who transferred from Ohio State; Dom Campbell, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward transfer from Notre Dame; Isaiah Warfield, a 6-foot-3 graduate guard who transferred from Liberty University; and Dylan Metoyer, a 6-foot-1 freshman point guard from highly ranked Sierra Canyon High School, the same alma mater as Odom.
The Bison open the season with their home opener against rival Hampton University on Nov. 6 at Burr Gymnasium.
Howard University Women
The Howard women’s team came up just short of winning the MEAC Tournament title in a heartbreaking 50-45 loss to Norfolk State this past March. That would have given them back-to-back tournament championships.
Despite a number of injuries all season, the Bison finished 16-14 and 10-4 in the MEAC. Senior guard Destiny Howell, the premier player in the conference and one of the top three-point shooters in the country, has the ability to put the team on her back and carry them singlehandedly as she proved in the tournament final with points. The 6-foot sharpshooter was the MEAC Player of the Year after averaging almost 18 points per game.
Howell will perhaps have to contribute even more as the Bison have to replace two key players in Aziah Hudson, the team’s second-leading scorer (12.5 points per game) and Brooklyn Fort Davis (9 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game).
Howard does welcome the return of graduate point guard Iyanna Warren, who missed most of the season, playing in the first 11 games and averaging almost 10 points and three assists per game. Other players expected to contribute are senior guard Kaniyah Harris (4.1 assists per game, 123 assists for the season), who had her best season filling in for Warren, junior guard Nyla Cooper (4.5 points per game) and sophomore forward Nile Miller, who came on strong down the stretch and was named to the All-Rookie team.
Howard opens the season on Nov. 6 at George Washington University and has its home opener on Nov. 9 when it hosts Mount Saint Mary’s at 7 pm.
For the schedule, go to hubison.com
Bowie State Men
The Bowie State men’s team finished 7-22 last year and will be looking to rebound.
The Bulldogs lost its leading scorer but a number of key veterans will return this year, led by senior guard Malik Bradshaw, who finished second on the team in scoring at 11 points per game.
Junior guard Caleb Johnson will look to have a strong campaign after averaging 8.9 points, while leading the team in assists (69) and in steals (33). Others expected to contribute include sophomore guard Warren Mouganda and junior guard Kyree Freeman Davis.
Bowie State opens the season November when it takes on Lock Haven in the opening round of the Bowie State Classic at A.C. Jordan Arena in the newly minted Kevin Durant Basketball Court.
BOWIE STATE WOMEN
The Bowie State women’s team finished the season 14-12 and 10-6 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).
The Bulldogs are encouraged by the return of three of the top-four scorers. Junior guard Anil Harris leads the way with 14.5 points to go along with a team-leading 46 steals. Red-shirt junior guard Katerra Myers will also be expected to up her average of 8.4 points, while continuing to be a force on the boards (6.6 rebounds). Other returning veterans include graduate guard Robin Howard.
The Bulldogs open the season on Nov. 6 when they travel to Fairfax, Virginia to take on George Mason University at 2 pm.
The home opener is Nov. 27 when they host California University of Pennsylvania at 5:30
For schedules, go to bsubulldogs.com
University of the District of Columbia Men
The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) men are coming off a 13-14 season, 10-6 in the East Coast Conference (ECC).
The Firebirds return several veterans. Junior forward Hartnell Hayes (10.7 ppg) leads the way. Senior forward Micah Campbell is an inside force as evidenced by his nine points, 7.2 rebounds and a team-leading 46 blocks. Sophomore guard Eric Morgan, Jr. will be expected to increase his scoring average of almost eight points per game. Junior guard Tevin Curtis will be called on to be the floor general.
The Firebirds open the season at South Connecticut State before their home opener against crosstown rival Bowie State on November 18 at 12 noon in the Dr. E$dwin Bancroft Henderson Sports Complex.
University of the District of Columbia Women
The UDC women’s team finished strong last season at 15-13 and 10-6 in the ECC. The Firebirds figure to take the next step with key veterans returning.
Senior guard Latavia Jackson averaged 17 points and backcourt mate Destiny Ryles gives UDC a strong one-two punch with some impressive numbers (17 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, and 76 steals).
Others who expect to contribute for the Firebirds include junior guard Shanell Haskins (9.1 points per game) and junior guard/forward Tori Williams (8.2 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, 34 blocks).
The Firebirds open the season at Goldey-Beacom on Nov. 10 with the home opener against Bowie State on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in a doubleheader.
For schedules, go to udcfirebirds.com