Top prospect Maker picks Howard over UCLA, Kentucky, Memphis

WASHINGTON (AP) — Highly touted prospect Makur Maker verbally committed to Howard University on Friday, picking the Bison over college basketball powerhouses UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

The five-star recruit is the highest-ranked player to commit to a Historically Black College or University since ESPN began tracking rankings in 2007. Maker is a 6-foot-11, 235-pound center who declared for the NBA draft in April before opting to consider college basketball.

Maker, ranked No. 16 by ESPN, announced Friday on Twitter he was committing to Howard and coach Kenneth Blakeney. He hopes his decision opens the door for other prospects to go the HBCU route.

”I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow,” Maker said. ”I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey.”

It goes beyond Williams. Online oddsmaker Bovada on Friday set HBCUs among the favorites to land Bronny James, son of NBA superstar LeBron James.

Maker was born in Kenya and grew up in Australia before his family moved to North America. He has since played basketball in California and Ontario.

The 19-year-old thanked coaches at Kentucky, UCLA and Memphis for considering him and said, ”It was a tough choice.”

Howard is a school of 10,000 located in Northwest Washington, D.C., and in men’s basketball is a member of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference made up of HBCUs. The Bison went 4-29 last season, Blakeney’s first as coach.

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