Howard University’s men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 years.
The Bisons defeated Norfolk State during Saturday’s (March 11) MEAC Tournament, 65-64, becoming one of the 68 teams to compete in the March Madness Tournament.
The last time Howard made it to an NCAA tournament was in 1992, when they competed against the Kansas Jayhawks but lost.
Jelani Williams, a point guard for the Bisons who transferred from Pennsylvania, told the Washington Post that he worked to ensure he and his team made it to the NCAAs.
“This is why I came to Howard,” he said. “I’ve waited all my life for a moment like this. I knew it was my last chance to go to the NCAAs, and I was going to make it happen.”
Williams accomplished his goal, allowing joyful tears to flow as a reaction to their accomplishment.
Pure, unadulterated vision of perseverance. My heart sings for you baby!! Bask in it. Enjoy the moment. You MORE than deserve it!!! ♥️♥️♥️♥️#ThanksGod 🙌🏽🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/uofIKh4Tgp
— Alison Williams (@AlisonW39) March 12, 2023
Although Williams ensured he performed his duties on the court as team captain to guarantee an end to the three-decade NCAA Tournament slump, head coach Kenny Blakeney led the team off the court, having the team grinding early mornings to obtain this latest victory.
“Wow,” Blakeney told the Post, reacting to the surreal moment. “Just wow. I mean, holy s**t. Everything you’ve gone through, the 6 a.m. practices, getting thrown out of the locker room — all of it — was for this.”
He concluded, “It’s one thing to dream about doing something like this. It’s another thing to actually do it. I mean, it’s real. We really did it.”
The tournament kicks off on March 14, and the HU men’s basketball team will face off with the Jayhawks, a third-ranking team, on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA.