Why Mikey Williams is considering an HBCU

beasleythecard

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Why Mikey Williams is considering an HBCU, a move that could shake up college basketball
Jeff EisenbergandKrysten Peek

At 10:21 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the nation’s best 15-year-old basketball player sent out an eight-word tweet with potentially seismic implications.

“Going to an HBCU wouldn’t be too bad…” Mikey Williams wrote.

Instead of turning pro after high school or spending one year at a perennial college powerhouse, Williams signaled that he’s interested in an unexplored path. He plans to consider historically black colleges and universities that are never destinations for one-and-done prospects like him.

While it would be unprecedented for a player to snub the likes of Kansas or UCLA for an HBCU, Williams argues that name-brand college programs aren’t the only stepping stones to the NBA. “If you’re a pro, [then] you’re a pro no matter what college you go to,” Williams wrote Wednesday in an Instagram post elaborating on his interest in HBCUs.

What makes going to an HBCU appealing to Williams is that the revenue he generates during his college career would stay within the black community. He says multiple HBCUs will make the cut next time he narrows the list of colleges he is considering.

“And,” he adds, “they won’t just be there for show.”

“I AM RIDING FOR MY PEOPLE!” Williams wrote. “I’M 10 TOES BEHIND THE BLACK COMMUNITY! Any way I can help or make a change in the black community, best believe I am going to do that.”

Interest from the nation’s top-ranked rising sophomore came as a welcome surprise to HBCU coaches across the country. Within minutes, coaches who previously viewed Williams as unattainable suddenly began bombarding his AAU coach with calls and texts.

Tennessee State offered Williams a scholarship on Tuesday without seeing him play in person. Norfolk State and Texas Southern did the same. By Wednesday afternoon, the dynamic 6-foot-2 guard had piled up offers from about a dozen HBCU programs.

“I don't think any schools thought seriously about offering him until he posted that tweet,” Etop Udo-Uma, the coach of the talent-rich Compton Magic AAU team, told Yahoo Sports. “Within two hours he had more HBCU offers than any kid I've ever coached.”

any of their schools. They’re hoping to find a trailblazer whose bold choice to come to an HBCU could inspire other elite prospects to buck conventional wisdom and do the same." data-reactid="26">While a talent like Williams would instantly elevate whatever college he chooses, some HBCU coaches insist they would be happy if he picks any of their schools. They’re hoping to find a trailblazer whose bold choice to come to an HBCU could inspire other elite prospects to buck conventional wisdom and do the same.

For decades, predominantly white institutions have raked in revenue in part because of the achievements of black athletes. Someone like Williams could demonstrate that black athletes can generate money and exposure for HBCUs without sacrificing their pursuit of a pro career to do it.

“Honestly, all that it would take is one top-25 kid coming to an HBCU, being successful and going on to play in the NBA,” Norfolk State coach Robert Jones told Yahoo Sports. “Then a lot of other kids would follow. It would change everything.”


Mikey Williams took part in the Pangos All-American Camp last summer. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The history of HBCUs
Before the desegregation of college sports in the South, it once was common for top black athletes to attend predominantly black colleges. HBCUs produced many of the nation’s best-known athletes, from Tennessee State’s Wilma Rudolph, to Florida A&M’s Bob Hayes, to Grambling State’s Willis Reed, to Winston-Salem State’s Earl “the Pearl” Monroe.

By the end of the civil rights movement, even the most stubborn Deep South coaches knew they needed to integrate to remain competitive. Majority-white institutions began siphoning away much of the South’s top black talent, positioning those schools to cash in when college sports evolved into a big-dollar business and pushing HBCUs further and further behind.

Consider Grambling State, home of maybe the most storied HBCU football program. In 2013 players staged a boycott and forfeited a game in protest of the school’s crumbling facilities, long bus trips to road games and frequent coaching changes.
 

Hank_

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If that’s truly his desire, I wish him nothing but success.

If this is the result of a parasite in the ear of a 15 year old, looking to capitalize on the current political climate, I feel bad for him because he’s going to be in a bad spot when he finally has to make the decision of whether he should sacrifice for an under funded program.
 

beasleythecard

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If that’s truly his desire, I wish him nothing but success.

If this is the result of a parasite in the ear of a 15 year old, looking to capitalize on the current political climate, I feel bad for him because he’s going to be in a bad spot when he finally has to make the decision of whether he should sacrifice for an under funded program.
Honestly anymore we will never know if its someone on the take with these kids or if a shoe company is persuading him, or his family. Could also be a honest decision from the kid who knows.

It would be nice to see the money made from the NCAA be shared with the kids and placed in a trust that can not be accessed until a certain age like Allen Iverson's advisor did for him.

Make these kids take a money management course to know the value of money and how money works.

Seeing these kids broke after amassing that type of wealth is sad.
 
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Afamu

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He is an impressionable young kid who is being led down a political path.
 

Global Havok

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I mean good for dude if he wants to go that route, but that is a good way to ensure no one sees him play, his training facilities will not be as good and his coaching will not be as good as other schools he could attend. All of which will likely hurt his draft position at least some.

My wife was a professor at an HBCU for a few years along side her full time job (she loves to teach for reason... time commitment drove me nuts) , they don't have money for anything. We donated so much to their programs, both money and equipment donations, just to keep certain programs alive. I cant imagine most have even decent training facilties.
 

Wildcat-in-STL

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If thats what he feels is best for him. I'd argue that getting his brand built and using money he would gain from that to donate to his cause would help more than going to a historically black school. but To each their own.
 

mebeblue2

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far too many cons

lack of elite facilities (that is huge)
lack of playing elite talent to show you belong
more-than-likely lack of elite coaching
lack of exposure (i doubt anyone sees him on T.V)

I will file this under "never going to happen"
 

Villian07

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I will agree with one thing he said, if your a pro your a pro. Ben Simmons and Markell Fultz proved as much, being back to back number one draft picks only to see their college coach get fired shortly after their year in college.

But I don’t think him going to an hbcu is gonna change anything, unless he’s like Derrick Rose/Anthony Davis/ zion good and even if he is I doubt going to an hbcu would make them popular or get prime time television games. He might help sell tickets for whatever hbcu school for a year but I doubt it’s anything more than that.
 

RR30

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I will agree with one thing he said, if your a pro your a pro. Ben Simmons and Markell Fultz proved as much, being back to back number one draft picks only to see their college coach get fired shortly after their year in college.

But I don’t think him going to an hbcu is gonna change anything, unless he’s like Derrick Rose/Anthony Davis/ zion good and even if he is I doubt going to an hbcu would make them popular or get prime time television games. He might help sell tickets for whatever hbcu school for a year but I doubt it’s anything more than that.
LSU and Washington are an NBA team compared to HBCU's. Yes if he's that good he'll be a pro anywhere, but the drop in facilities from P5 teams to a lot of smaller schools is gigantic.
 

Villian07

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LSU and Washington are an NBA team compared to HBCU's. Yes if he's that good he'll be a pro anywhere, but the drop in facilities from P5 teams to a lot of smaller schools is gigantic.
I was more referring to the coaches they played for in their one college season, but I understand your point and agree facilities wise.
 

sziegler

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good! i’m tired of these one and done’s. It might actually help college basketball!
 

RichardMassive

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I mean good for dude if he wants to go that route, but that is a good way to ensure no one sees him play, his training facilities will not be as good and his coaching will not be as good as other schools he could attend. All of which will likely hurt his draft position at least some.

My wife was a professor at an HBCU for a few years along side her full time job (she loves to teach for reason... time commitment drove me nuts) , they don't have money for anything. We donated so much to their programs, both money and equipment donations, just to keep certain programs alive. I cant imagine most have even decent training facilties.
I agree about the facilities being inferior, but I don’t really think the one year of coaching these kids receive in college does jack shit for them as far as the NBA is concerned.

I think it’s a pretty novel idea and will have these racists heads on a swivel. It will be glorious if it happens in football to the wonderfully progressive SEC fanbase
 

RichardMassive

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All the flavors you could choose and you pick salty.
SEC fan I take it. I'm not salty...just think it will be funny for dudes against the BLM movement and justice for George Floyd to suddenly be in their feelings about something as trivial as college football and their program recruiting going in the proverbial toilet
 

Global Havok

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SEC fan I take it. I'm not salty...just think it will be funny for dudes against the BLM movement and justice for George Floyd to suddenly be in their feelings about something as trivial as college football and their program recruiting going in the proverbial toilet
UK fan. My school's football coach hosted a BLM march and our basketball coach is pubically speaking out and hosting talks with black athletes speaking their mind on the issues. What has your school been doing about it?


And you think the only places there are anti-BLM folks or racists are in SEC Country? I live in Big 10 Country and can assure you they are everywhere.

At least you realize you are a massive dick.
 
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bkingUK

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I agree about the facilities being inferior, but I don’t really think the one year of coaching these kids receive in college does jack shit for them as far as the NBA is concerned.

I think it’s a pretty novel idea and will have these racists heads on a swivel. It will be glorious if it happens in football to the wonderfully progressive SEC fanbase
Not sure if you’re dumb or just tone deaf, but these protests took place in 100+ cities, most which aren’t in the south.
 

RichardMassive

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Not sure if you’re dumb or just tone deaf, but these protests took place in 100+ cities, most which aren’t in the south.
so what’s your point? Just because they’re not protesting in some southern cities doesn’t mean there’s no race relation issues/ police brutality
 

bkingUK

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so what’s your point? Just because they’re not protesting in some southern cities doesn’t mean there’s no race relation issues/ police brutality
My point is you think you’re making a point going after the south but you’re really exacerbating racism in your own area by thinking it’s not in your backyard. Pretty much making a mockery of the subject.
 

RichardMassive

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My point is you think you’re making a point going after the south but you’re really exacerbating racism in your own area by thinking it’s not in your backyard. Pretty much making a mockery of the subject.
it obviously occurs everywhere, but the South has traditionally been viewed as ground zero for dejure racism. Stop pretending to be so naive
 

bkingUK

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it obviously occurs everywhere, but the South has traditionally been viewed as ground zero for dejure racism. Stop pretending to be so naive
Oh I’m not naive. I actually think what you’re doing is part of the problem. The south has it’s problems and I’m sure it’s fun to bash the conservative south as the bastion of racism. Gives a solid feelings of false superiority. But if we’re acting like it’s better just because a city votes blue, we really aren’t addressing the real problems. Furthermore, I find it hypocritical and makes a mockery of the subject. Racism isn’t a game of gotcha. That’s all I have to say about that.
 

Global Havok

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Oh I’m not naive. I actually think what you’re doing is part of the problem. The south has it’s problems and I’m sure it’s fun to bash the conservative south as the bastion of racism. Gives a solid feelings of false superiority. But if we’re acting like it’s better just because a city votes blue, we really aren’t addressing the real problems. Furthermore, I find it hypocritical and makes a mockery of the subject. Racism isn’t a game of gotcha. That’s all I have to say about that.
He's an idiot. Notice how he convienently ignored my questions about what his favorite University was doing to support the fight against systemic racism? Probably because all they are doing is sticking their noses in the air like tiny johnson over here.
 

IUfanBorden

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UK fan. My school's football coach hosted a BLM march and our basketball coach is pubically speaking out and hosting talks with black athletes speaking their mind on the issues. What has your school been doing about it?


And you think the only places there are anti-BLM folks or racists are in SEC Country? I live in Big 10 Country and can assure you they are everywhere.

At least you realize you are a massive dick.
I doubt he catches this....Laughing
 
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IUfanBorden

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Oh I’m not naive. I actually think what you’re doing is part of the problem. The south has it’s problems and I’m sure it’s fun to bash the conservative south as the bastion of racism. Gives a solid feelings of false superiority. But if we’re acting like it’s better just because a city votes blue, we really aren’t addressing the real problems. Furthermore, I find it hypocritical and makes a mockery of the subject. Racism isn’t a game of gotcha. That’s all I have to say about that.
I love the south...TBH, those people are fukin' genuine..I lived in Savannah, GA, and on Tybee island....lived in Grand Bay, Alabama as well....Also in Mississippi. Racism IMO isn't any different, more or loss of a problem there, as it is here in So. Indiana. The thing I;ve always loved about the south, or at least the places I lived, was just how genuine the people were. They are who they are, and they do not hide it.
 

IUfanBorden

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I appreciate this kids thought. His mind, and heart, are in the right place. I just hope he understands the stage he has now put himself on. Because well, if he chooses a UK, Duke, Kansas, etc, etc...a lof of folks will give this kid shit. And that will be a shame.

And, well at the end of the day, I think that is exactly what will happen...

He'll choose the likes of a Duke, UK, etc, etc....and folks will light him up. Young man probably would have been better off by keeping quiet.
 

Villian07

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Mehhhh two years is a long time to hold a kid to his word. If he was a 2021 kid, maybe I could see people giving him shit.

Unless he keeps bringing it up I think it will be forgotten before his recruitment plays out.
 
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IUfanBorden

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Mehhhh two years is a long time to hold a kid to his word. If he was a 2021 kid, maybe I could see people giving him shit.

Unless he keeps bringing it up I think it will be forgotten before his recruitment plays out.
Facts....