The first-ever HBCU All-Star Game is in the books and calling it successful would be an absolute understatement.
In the end, it was Team McLendon who took the 79-75 win, but this game was about more than just determining a winner or loser.
This game was about giving HBCUs a chance to shine on the nationally televised network of CBS showcasing the impressive athletes the universities have to offer.
CBS went above and beyond with its coverage producing a documentary highlighting the national champion 1967 Winston-Salem State men’s basketball team. In addition, CBS prepared a piece featuring current North Carolina A&T student and golf team member J.R. Smith as well as former NBA player and current Fisk head basketball coach Kenny Anderson’s journey to their respective HBCUs.
The programing did not stop there as we got a glimpse of what the HBCU culture is all about with a halftime performance from Southern’s Human Jukebox marching band.
Also read: First-ever HBCU All-Star Game takes center stage during Final Four weekend
If the first-ever HBCU All-Star Game was any indication, there is a bright future for this event with lots of memories to be made and HBCU stars to cement their legacy.
Here are three takeaways from the HBCU All-Star Game.
1. This was not your average All-Star Game
For those who tuned in expecting the HBCU All-Star Game to be a high scoring affair with players not going too hard, were welcomed with the total opposite.
While there was a point in the beginning minutes of the second half, in which both teams traded buckets, the majority of the game saw both teams attack both ends playing with amazing effort as if they were competing for an actual championship.
Diving on the floor for loose balls, not giving up on defensive with multiple efforts, attacking the offensive glass for second-chance opportunities, these guys put on a clinic in hustling and doing the dirty work that not even a lot of players in the pros are even willing to do.
With maximum effort from each team, there were certain individuals who look to have increased their stock potentially putting their name in the hat for a spot on a G-League roster or even in the NBA Draft.
2. There were a ton of shining stars
If this game did nothing else it put a number of professional teams on notice that HBCUs have a lot of talent to offer.
Whether it be in the NBA, G-League, or overseas, the prospects in this game proved they are deserving of displaying their abilities at the next level.
Benedict forward Tajh Green was named the MVP after a tremendous shooting display putting up 12 points and seven rebounds shooting 4-for-7 from the field.
One name who also deserved the MVP award was Brison Gresham out of Texas Southern who put on a dominant performance down low finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.
Hampton’s Najee Garvin is another shining star from the All-Star Game also scoring 12 points while making some great defensive plays
3. We need an HBCU Women’s All-Star Game
If we want to give the people the true HBCU experience, let’s give it to them by giving them an HBCU All-Star doubleheader beginning with the women.
Considering all the great women’s players who played their final year in college this season, this would have been a tremendous opportunity to give them a shine in their bid for a WNBA or overseas roster spot.
Jackson State’s Ameshya Williams-Holliday, Benedict’s Ay’Anna Bey, North Carolina A&T’s Sharecka McNeill, Lincoln’s Bryanna Brown, Savannah State’s LeAndrea Gillis, etc. there was no shortage of women’s ballers who would have been worthy of consideration for an All-Star selection.
Going forward, it would be a great look for HBCU All Stars LLC to evaluate the women’s players in preparation for a women’s game next year.
Especially considering there are only 12 WNBA teams and opportunities to play on major overseas teams are scarce, an HBCU Women’s All-Star Game would be very useful in giving the ladies a chance to prove their worth at the pro level.