Hampton Pirates Men’s Basketball has a challenge in store

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

The Hampton Pirates’ home games have gone extremely well for the Pirates as of late.

Jermaine Marrow and Lysander Bracey led Hampton with fantastic performances in back to back games. When the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats came to visit Hampton on January 29th, they entered the Convocation Center with a better record. Jermaine Marrow did not let that phase him, though. Marrow put up his best performance of the year thus far. He scored a career high 35 points, recorded 10 rebounds and was one assist shy of a triple double.

The game was clearly coming to him with ease, as he scored 10 of Hampton’s first 14 points. His point production pushed the Pirates to early success and the team never looked back, winning 80-69.

Two days later, another guard had an outstanding performance. Lysander Bracey carried the Pirates against Coppin State. In the beginning of the game, he struggled to find his shot, however the second half was completely different. Bracey hit multiple threes while scoring 22 points in the second half. He proved to be the “it factor” of the game, even knocking down three clutch free throws to force overtime.

In the OT period, he continued his success, knocking down two more. Hampton led by as much as 14 points before ending the game with a win.

Unfortunately, their winning streak did not carry over when they began their road trip of three games. The Pirates lost a game to North Carolina A&T, who are now sitting a half game back from the top of the MEAC with a conference record of 6-2. They now have eight games left in the regular season, and if there was ever a time to make a run for a better seed in the MEAC tournament, the time is now.

In previous years, Hampton has won two of the last three conference championships. The last two years have been a struggle for the program, which has yet to recover from the 2016 class of seniors departing.

“I think that the team will be successful with time” says Malcolm Heartwell, a fellow Hampton student. “The year got off to a rough start and it’s clearly been hard for them to recover, but if they find their rhythm before the tournament, the sky is the limit.”

Indeed, making a run would be a difficult task for the Pirates, but it is not impossible. With few games left, it’s time for maximum effort.


Hampton University moving to the Big South Conference

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

Courtesy of the HU Office of University Relations

After more than two decades in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Hampton University will make the switch to the Big South Conference.

Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle Kallander and Hampton University Athletic Director Eugene Marshall made the announcement Nov. 16 in the Student Center Theater.

Kallander said that the vote to put Hampton Football in the Big South was a “unanimous decision.” The Big South sponsors 16 of the 17 sports in which Hampton University participates. This means that all sports — excluding the lacrosse team, which is independent — will make the change to the Big South. Hampton has been in the MEAC since 1995.

Marshall said there is the possibility that the Pirates won’t begin to play football in the Big South until the 2019 season. This means rivalries against schools such as Howard University and Norfolk State would continue for the next season, as well as games against other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Many questions have arisen since the announcement. What will happen for the seasons beginning in 2019? Will Hampton football play strictly HBCUs in nonconference games?

Playing in a bigger conference will give Hampton athletics a chance to not just prove themselves, but also the athletic worth of all HBCUs.

According to ESPN’s The Undefeated, Hampton is the second HBCU at the Division I level not competing in a historically black league, the other one being Tennessee State.

“Our goal at Hampton is to be the best mid-sized university in the country, and I think that the Big South helps us to obtain that,” Marshall said.

Hampton alum Lysander Bracey thinks the decision to go from MEAC to the Big South will be a great move.

“We’re on a bigger stage now, and the competition gets better as well,” Bracey said. “I’m excited for the upcoming years in the Big South.”

The change to the Big South will likely mean a change in attendance. Will more or less Hampton students attend athletic events to cheer on the Pirates? This positive or negative change can only be determined with time.

It’s “Ball” season

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

It seems as if the No. 2 draft pick from the 2017 class has a target on his back.

On the Los Angeles Lakers’ opening night, the Houston Rockets’ Patrick Beverley made it clear that it was going to be a long season for Lonzo Ball. In his debut, Ball ended up struggling. He never found a true comfort zone on the floor, and this is likely due to the defensive play of Beverley. The Rockets guard gave Ball trouble throughout the whole game. Beverly gave the rookie a few pushes and hard fouls while chasing him down the floor. Ball ended up bouncing back the very next night in an away matchup vs. the Suns. He finished with 29 points and was one assist away from a triple double.

It’s nearly impossible to discuss Lonzo Ball without mentioning his father. Love him or hate him, LaVar Ball does his best impression of speaking things into existence. He spoke Lonzo Ball playing for the Lakers into reality. The head of the Ball family made a new case that was proven on the night of Oct. 25.

“Wizards better beware,” LaVar Ball said. “Lonzo doesn’t lose twice in a week.”

Sure enough, the Lakers went on to beat the then-undefeated Washington Wizards in a late night overtime game.

“It’s a team game,” LaVar Ball said. “That’s how you’re going to beat someone. If you go one-on-one, you’re never going to win. If you keep taking it personal, trying to go one-on-one with my son, you’re going to lose every time.”

John Wall vs. Lonzo Ball was a hyped matchup for many reasons. For one, it was a matchup between a top-tier guard in the league and a 19-year-old pass-first point guard. Wall, who some say is the best defensive point guard in the league, struggled to find rhythm late in the game. His questionable shot-taking plagued the Wizards as the game went on.

The Wizards are hoping to reach a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Lakers would be ecstatic if they even reached the playoffs this season.

If the Lakers make the playoffs, it would be the first time since the season Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles in 2013.

So far this season, all games have proven one thing about Lonzo Ball: He will never focus on attacking the opposition one-on-one. Ball plays the game as a team sport and finds joy in making his teammates better players. The points don’t matter in Ball’s eyes, as long as his team is improving every week.

It will be interesting to see what Ball brings to the court for basketball fans the rest of the season.