Friday, February 10, 2017

State of the State: Hampton proving HBCUs can thrive in current era

HAMPTON, Virginia -- Even in a rebuilding year, Hampton remains dangerous.

The Pirates have 12 freshmen and sophomores on their roster this season, part of coach Edward Joyner Jr.’s strategy to let his players grow together on the court.

The strategy worked with Joyner’s last group, which reached the NCAA tournament in 2015 and 2016 as veteran-laden teams. This year’s group is already enjoying success, with a 7-3 mark in MEAC play.

In the process, Hampton is proving that it’s possible to sustain success as an HBCU in the current era.

For decades, historically black colleges were the only game in town. Radford coach Mike Jones, who attended Howard, said that’s not the case anymore.

“Everything changed with civil rights and integration,” he said. “A lot of players then scattered around to different programs around the country, and it sort of watered down the talent in the HBCUs.

“But I think there’s been a resurgence. Hampton has terrific players and has had a tremendous amount of success, and Norfolk State has had NCAA tournament success.”


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