Alas, a stage for HBCU basketball.
This Saturday, the World BasketballAssociation Foundation is hosting its first National Black CollegeAll Star Basketball Showcase. The event, taking place at Morehousein Atlanta, will feature the top 24 male and female basketballplayers from historically Black colleges and universitiesthroughout the nation.
Some fans that follow HBCU basketball wereboth surprised and proud to see Terence Woods of Florida A&MUniversity representing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at thisyear’s NCAA All-Star Three-Point Shootout held in conjunctionwith the Final Four.
His presence was unexpected, but welcomed,because for the most part, basketball at Black colleges is notrelevant on the national landscape.
The WBA is seeking to change that.
“Historically, Black college basketballplayers have been overlooked when it comes to traditional collegeall-star games,” said Leroy McMath, WBA president. “TheWBA Foundation is taking the opportunity to provide an outlet tomake this a consistent reality.”
Perhaps indicating a trend, a similar game isscheduled to take place in Cleveland at Gund Arena.
Following up on the success of lastyear’s Ohio Classic football game that pitted gridironstandouts from Black college programs, the Ohio Classic committeehas planned to stage the Black College All-Star Basketball Game onMay 1. Hollywood stars like Vivica Fox have committed toparticipate in the festivities as well.
The prospect of these games has to imbue manyof the athletes. For them, off-season outlets, especially publicshowcases, are rarities for HBCU ballplayers. In fact, thosecritical of HBCU athletic programs point to the lack of exposureplayers experience as a major reason why they have troublerecruiting national talent.
McMath says that the WBA game is anopportunity for HBCU athletes to shine.
“The purpose of the National BlackCollege All Star Basketball Showcase is to expose them to both U.S.and International Scouts,” he said. “We want them to haveevery opportunity that is possibly available.”
Some notable names scheduled to compete in theWBA game are L Woods, Tee trotter of Maryland-Eastern Shore andformer NBA champion Rick Mahorn will be an all-star coach.