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Five-star recruit Makur Maker has committed to Howard University. Photo: John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are experiencing an athletic reawakening, attracting interest and commitments from top basketball recruits at a level not seen since the 1970s.

Why it matters: The college recruiting process often centers around "What can this college do for me?" Now, as more young Black men recognize the power of their actions, some have begun asking, "What can I do for this college?"

Driving the news: HBCUs are becoming more assertive in their pursuit of elite prospects amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • In the past five weeks alone, Howard University landed five-star recruit Makur Maker and top transfer Nojel Eastern.
  • Mikey Williams, a top recruit in the class of 2023, listed five HBCUs among his top-10 schools. Five-star rising senior Trevor Keels landed three HBCU offers; five-star rising junior Brandon Huntley-Hatfield picked up at least four.

What they're saying: Maker says he doesn't know why it's been 40 years since a five-star recruit chose an HBCU, but with "this Black Lives Matter movement ... it won't be another 40 years until it happens again," he told The Undefeated.

The backdrop: Before top college programs began integrating in the 1960s and 1970s, all-time greats like Earl Monroe (Winston-Salem State), Willis Reed (Grambling State) and more attended HBCUs because they had no other choice.

  • Once coaches realized they needed those athletes to stay at the top of the college sports food chain (see: 1966 Texas Western and 1970 USC Trojans, the landscape shifted.
  • Now, HBCUs must compete with higher-profile, better-resourced schools to land top recruits, and for decades the scales have tipped heavily in favor of the blue bloods.

The big picture: Kyle O'Quinn (Norfolk State) is the only HBCU product selected in the past 15 NBA drafts, and Ben Wallace (Virginia Union) is the last NBA All-Star to come from an HBCU.

  • Maker will likely get drafted, and if the momentum he and others have helped create can last a generation, it's only a matter of time before Wallace has some All-Star company.

Go deeper

Aug 28, 2020 - Health

Community colleges struggle with hands-on classes

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Programs at community colleges and technical schools that require hands-on learning — like welding or auto repair — have a unique challenge as they try to stay open while keeping students safe.

Why it matters: One-third of higher education students enrolled last spring were from a community college. And their student bodies are often higher-risk than traditional colleges', with more students who work, come from communities hit hard by the virus, or are older.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.