Monday, November 21, 2016

View from the Hilltop: Episode 1, “Is this Howard's year to join the Big Dance?“

After two decades of futility, the basketball team has its best chance to return to the NCAA tournament

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Milan Brown walked through Howard University’s campus recently, the former Bison basketball star began experiencing a series of flashbacks.

Flashback No. 1: He remembered escorting his girlfriend, Tina, down the long steps beside Founders Library and into the space known on campus as The Valley. Leading her to the center of the yard, Brown, a 1993 Howard graduate, knelt and proposed to the then-doctoral student who’s now his wife.

Flashback No. 2: Brown, a current assistant coach at the College of Charleston, relived the struggles of a basketball team that never won more than nine games in each of his first two years. But the low point came in his junior year when the team started 1-16: Despite leading the team in assists and being the second-leading scorer, Brown was replaced in the starting lineup by a freshman.

Brown’s final flashback? It’s the feeling that comes over him as he walks onto the floor in Burr Gymnasium, the home of the Bison basketball team for the last 53 years, and looks up toward the north end of the gym.

In one corner, Brown sees his name and uniform number (25) hanging from the rafters. He was an All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) point guard as a senior, and still ranks second on the school’s all-time career list for assists. In the other corner is the blue banner that celebrates the team’s berth in the 1992 NCAA tournament after winning the conference championship.


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