Georgia Tech men’s basketball defeated Morehouse 82-54 on Jan. 28. Georgia Tech senior forward James Banks III and junior guard Jordan Usher both spoke on the impact of the game. It was the first time the two programs meet, and Georgia Tech players are hoping it’s not the last.
Jordan Usher spoke about how he knew a lot of the Morehouse players through high school and AAU in the Atlanta area. Usher also spoke about how he was good friends with Morehouse guard Frank Bailey and how the two were teammates on their AAU Atlanta Celtics team. Yellow Jackets’ senior forward is from the Atlanta area as well, residing from Decatur.
Banks and Usher were open for a home and home mini-series against the Maroon Tigers. Usher stated, “I wish we would have played at Morehouse and if we can do it next year, that’s something I would love to do.”
Usher hinted at the reason why he wanted to go to Morehouse because of the atmosphere at the school. Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, are known for their black historical figures that each of these schools represents but also their culture. The party culture, the fraternities and sororities, band, athletics, and the rivalries with other HBCUs for bragging rights.
Of course, all schools have this culture, but at HBCUs and other small colleges, the athletes and students are not so separated. The athletes at major division 1 programs have schedules and responsibilities similar to a professional athlete. They are also held to a higher standard and are put on a pedestal that naturally separates them from the rest of the student body. The athletes at smaller schools have a lesser load to bare and get the chance to experience college a little more. Also, at smaller schools, the facilities aren’t as big and spread out so the fan experience is a little bit closer.
Going to games at HBCUs seems like every section is the student section, and the students bring the energy. It is easier to root for a player when you have shared a personal connection than being a fan from afar. Georgia Tech’s Banks said the same thing in so many words.
Banks said in his post-game press conference, “Honestly wish they would’ve brought the whole school out, I mean able to get that environment and culture in here you know we love it and also both of us are local guys,
[referring to teammate Jordan Usher]
, from the city just having you guys in the gym is crazy.”
Morehouse head coach Grady Brewer spoke on Georgia Tech coming to Forbes Arena, where the Maroon Tigers play. Coach Brewer said, ‘absolutely, any time’ and ‘my dream is for Georgia Tech to come over to our 6,000-seat arena. He shared some of his experiences from high school that connected him with the Yellow Jackets as well that included his team playing in two state championships at Georgia Tech’s old arena, Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Hopefully, the Georgia Tech athletic department would consider taking a cross-town trip to Morehouse. Both teams seem to enjoy playing each other regardless of the score. The Morehouse faithful also would give them a warm welcome and a crowd experience you can’t find anywhere else.