- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Howard University has canceled the remainder of the school’s men’s basketball season, citing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bison played just five games this season and haven’t taken the floor for a matchup since Dec. 18, when they beat Hampton.

“We had several team members test positive in January, and were forced to place the program on hold, cancel several games and finally cancel our season. It was and remains the right thing for us to do,” Howard coach Kenneth Blakeney said in a statement. “Ultimately, our number one priority is to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, both mentally and physically. Canceling the season is in the best interest of the team at this time.”

Howard entered the season with several big names, such as Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern and five-star recruit Makur Maker. But the season didn’t go as planned, with a large chunk disrupted by the pandemic before the program decided to end the campaign.

Eastern opted out and declared for the NBA Draft on Jan. 3. The program shut Maker down Nov. 27 due to a groin injury after playing two games.

Howard joins Bethune-Cookman and Maryland-Eastern Shore as MEAC teams that canceled their basketball seasons; Bethune-Cookman and Maryland-Eastern Shore made that decision before playing games, though.

“Fortunately, this gives our student-athletes the opportunity to finish their academic year strong while demonstrating their resiliency upon their return. We are Bison Strong; we will get through this together,” Blakeney said.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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