Howard University cancels basketball season, bringing anticlimactic end to Makur Maker’s freshman season

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Howard University athletic officials announced Tuesday that the rest of the school’s men’s basketball season will be canceled “out of an abundance of caution due to the health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bison were 1-4 and had not played since Dec. 18 while dealing with issues related to the coronavirus.

“We had several team members test positive in January, and were forced to place the program on hold, cancel several games and finally cancel our season,” coach Kenneth Blakeney said in an announcement. “It was and remains the right thing for us to do. Ultimately, our number one priority is to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, both mentally and physically. Canceling the season is in the best interest of the team at this time.”

The cancelation of Howard’s season constitutes an anticlimactic end to Makur Maker’s first, and perhaps only, season in the program. The five-star center made headlines in July when he committed to the Bison over offers from several high-major programs. His commitment was heralded as a monumental moment for HBCU basketball, but Maker appeared in just two games in November and had not played since because of a groin injury.

Maker reportedly hoped to play in a showcase game on MLK Day, when Notre Dame was scheduled to play at Howard, before that game was canceled. Howard joins Bethune-Cookman and Maryland-Eastern Shore among the group of MEAC teams that have called of their season.

“Fortunately, this gives our student-athletes the opportunity to finish their academic year strong while demonstrating their resiliency upon their return,” Blakeney said. “We are Bison Strong; we will get through this together.”

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