Five-star college basketball recruit Makur Maker made national headlines when he decided to commit to Howard University.
In his first interview since the announcement, Maker spoke with ESPN’s Pablo Torre to explain why Howard was his choice over traditional Division I powers and the significance for HBCU programs and young black athletes.
“It’s been crazy,” Maker said, who received feedback from current and former NBA players, including Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. “It’s a good thing to know that the country, globally, supported the choice I made.”
Maker, who had offers from Kentucky, Memphis, and UCLA in addition to Howard, told Torre that selecting an HBCU program for high-profile basketball players like himself “should be the norm.”
“The most shocking thing is that everyone was shocked,” he said. “The reason why I chose Howard is to inspire others to take HBCUs seriously.”
In the 26-minute ESPN Daily podcast interview recorded Thursday, Maker said what sold him on Howard was its unique culture, something at other schools — while prestigious in their own right — wasn’t as attractive.
“The student body is totally connected,” he said. “It seemed like everyone knew each other’s name. “Plus, it was Howard’s homecoming.”
When asked how he could turn down all the extravagance that a high-level D1 basketball program had to offer for one that won just four games a year ago with not as much cache, Maker explained that his background had a lot do with his perspective.
“I’m from Australia. I grew up playing in cold gyms and small gyms,” he said. “I can get a workout in a little small gym. I don’t need anything fancy like that.”
The specter of a top basketball talent in this position still has some wondering whether Maker will actually play for Howard at all, considering he still could venture overseas or make a jump to the NBA’s development league instead.
Maker, However, said he remains true to his word that he will follow through on his historic decision.
“Just believe and hear what I say,” he said. “I’m not going to say one thing and do another.”
The full interview can be heard here