I am sitting in my room studying for an exam and all of a sudden, a Bleacher Report alert flashes across my phone. “2017 PG R.J. Cole commits to Howard University.” My jaw dropped and I was immediately filled with excitement. “This was big enough to get an ESPN alert? This is great!” Being a University of Maryland student, I am only a metro stop away from Howard’s campus. This is a great step for HBCU’s in terms of coming to relevance in sports in the nation’s capital. With Cole’s committing to the Bisons, he can start a trend of more highly touted recruits committing to HBCU’s, which could prepare them to be postseason ready for the big dance in March.
Let’s take a look at the future Bison.
Standing at 6’1, 170 pounds, R.J. Cole is a senior point guard for one of the top high school basketball programs in the country in St. Anthony High School in New Jersey. Back in March, he helped deliver St. Anthony a 13th Tournament of Champion title. The then junior had 11 points in the game.
In the clip below, R.J. Cole and Hudson Catholic’s Jahvon Quinerly face off in “The Weekend” championship, with the Friars winning 58-57. Cole is a great floor general for his team. He shows his basketball IQ on the floor, knowing when to drive to the basket and when to pass for the assist. Although undersized, he plays excellent behind the arc. His quick release makes it hard for opposing defenders to block his shot.
A case for R.J. Cole being an underrated point guard can be made, as he is ranked a 3 star on ESPN and Rivals. With a state title under his belt, Cole has proven to have had a great high school campaign. Howard University is not your typical popular basketball school, his move is not as big as Ben Simmons’. However, Cole will certainly make other high school recruits change their view on how they choose schools. Not to mention, Howard became the first HBCU to sign with Under Armour. If he makes noise as a Bison, this will be a great step in the right direction for HBCU’s getting more ranked players. This would also be the perfect opportunity for Howard head coach Kevin Nickleberry to build his team around the Linden, NJ native.
HBCU basketball is slowly on the come up, and it will continue to increase if more athletes follow the lead that R.J. Cole could possibly set the blueprint for, for years to come.