Former Duke guard Kenny Blakeney finished his first season coaching Howard at just 4-29. A lot of the players he might have inherited transferred when Kevin Nickleberry was let go so naturally he needs to reload.
And he may have. He has nine new players expected in the fall including Jordan Wood.
Wood is a kid a lot of guys think is sort of under the radar. Rick Pitino wanted him for Iona for instance. Cornell and Columbia were on his trail too.
And he wasn’t an obvious candidate for Howard because while Howard is an outstanding academic school, it’s an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) and Wood is white.
Blakeney loved his game though. He’s a 6-8 stretch four and he’s also a great passer, which is what really impressed the coach. He also has some nuanced reasons for why Howard is the right school for him.
Remember his name. If he turns out to be as good as some people think, you’ll hear it again.
By the way, a familiar name pops up in this story: Tom Abatemarco, once the Jim Valvano assistant who recruited 5-7 baby-faced Spud Webb to Raleigh, is now at Iona.
When Webb got off the plane at RDU and Valvano saw him for the first time, he turned to Abatemarco and said “you’re fired.”
Webb went on to a terrific career at State of course, made the NBA and even won the 1986 dunk contest.