HCBU ballers don’t go on to play in the NBA anymore, or do they?
There are only two current players in the NBA who have come from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). We spoke to one of them, Kyle O’Quinn of the New York Knicks, about how he was able to accomplish this feat.
O’Quinn immediately gave credit to his school and his coaches for their belief in him. He said: “I had people who believed in me. You know, the coaching staff, they worked on me every year, Coach (Robert) Jones, Coach (Anthony) Evans. They pushed me harder than I could ever imagine. They made me believe things I didn’t even see for myself. A lot of credit to the coaching staff, a lot of credit to the (Norfolk State) university. They just always pushed me. Like you said, it’s tough to get here from there, we know the odds.”
We would imagine that being one of two players in the NBA from HBCUs gives a player a strong sense of pride, and Kyle agreed. He said: “You stand for something way bigger than yourself. People see you playing with that chip on your shoulder and they know why.”
Finally, we asked the 6’10” baller what advice he would give to current HBCU athletes who want to play in the NFL or NBA. O’Quinn said: “If you’re good enough, they’ll find you. Keep your nose clean. Give yourself the best chance you can because you aren’t going to get the luxury of the big school players but at the end of the day you have to position yourself to be successful. That’s not only in sports but in life.”
O’Quinn left those athletes with one more piece of advice. “You gotta win. If you don’t win, it’s over!”
Derrel Johnson is a contributing writer for The GED Section. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.