NCAA

Report: Richmond guard Jacob Gilyard plans to withdraw from NBA Draft and return to school

Report: Richmond guard Jacob Gilyard plans to withdraw from NBA Draft and return to school

The Richmond basketball program can breathe a collective sigh of relief, as one of their starters from a year ago will be back with the program in the fall.

Guard Jacob Gilyard has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to Richmond for his senior season, according to CBS Sports Jon Rothstein.

Gilyard's decision comes after junior campaign where the point guard saw his scoring average dip by nearly four points from his stellar sophomore season. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 12.7 points per game last season compared to his 16.2 nightly average in 2018-19. However, Gilyard did average a career-best 5.7 assists per game.

Despite Gilyard's dip in scoring, Richmond finished with their best record in nearly a decade. Before the season was prematurely ended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Spiders were second in the Atlantic 10, trailing only Dayton. A deep run in the A-10 Tournament would have likely earned Richmond a March Madness bid.

The Spiders 24-7 (.774) record was the team's best winning percentage since the 2010-11 season when Richmond finished 29-8 (.784) and was ousted in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament by top-seeded Kansas.

The Atlantic 10 announced last week that the conference planned to limit the travel for seven sports in 2020-21 to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but men's and women's basketball were not among those sports included.

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Howard makes a massive jump in preseason KenPom rankings after Makur Maker commitment

Howard makes a massive jump in preseason KenPom rankings after Makur Maker commitment

The Howard men's basketball program was forever changed once 2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker announced his decision to play with the Bison next season

While this is a monumental step for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a whole, this is also a really big deal for the current Howard program. 

Last season, Howard was 4-29 (1-15 MEAC). Only three of those wins were against Division I opponents. Literally they were one of the worst teams in college basketball.

But with Maker that will change things. Not only will they vault to title favorites in the MEAC, but their national profile and coverage will greatly improve. Already Ken Pomeroy, who is the developer behind one of the most trusted metrics in the sport (KenPom), has the Bison taking a huge step by simply adding the five-star center. 

RELATED: ARE TOP PROSPECTS GOING TO HBCUs A NEW TREND?

That meant Howard was going to be second-to-last in Division I for Pomeroy's preseason rankings this year. Going to 252nd gives them a 27% jump by the addition of a single player. 

That will be the largest jump by a player - ever, according to Pomeroy. 

Makur is a 6-foot-11 player that is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. His cousin, Thon Maker, plays for the Pistons in the NBA.

All signs point to Howard being the class of the MEAC next season, but overall the quality of the league as a whole will improve with Maker. 

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2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

When five-star big man Makur Maker announced his final four schools Thursday and Howard University was on the list, it certainly raised some eyebrows. Now, it appears Howard has landed one of the biggest recruits in its history. 

Maker tweeted early Friday morning that he had committed to Howard and head coach Kenny Blakeney over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

"I was the first to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream “what if,'" Maker wrote. "I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney."

Top high school recruits such as Maker and 2023 five-star Mikey Williams are the first to show real interest in playing their college ball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Maker is the first of his caliber to make a commitment amid a worldwide movement against the systematic oppression of Black people. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CBB COACHES IN DC, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA

Maker, the brother of Pistons big man Thon Maker, is the 18th-ranked 2020 recruit in the nation according to 247sports. The 6'11, 235-pound big man is known for his blend of size, mobility and perimeter skills at the center position.

Maker was born in Kenya and immigrated to Australia when he was one year old. He then played high school basketball at multiple schools in California before playing his final season at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, AZ. 

Maker will join a program in need of a boost in talent. Howard went 4-29 last season and will surely improve with their newest addition. But perhaps Maker's decision will have a bigger impact on college basketball moving forward. As top recruits begin to consider avenues outside the traditional powerhouse programs, the game's landscape could look a lot different in a few years.

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