Junior Day attracts basketball recruits

By Dejane' James

HAMPTON, VA- Hampton women's basketball hosted its fourth annual "Junior Day" event Sept. 23 and 24, to recruit high school athletes. Seventy people attended, including 30 student-athletes from more than 15 different cities.

Hampton University's athletic budget does not allow coaching staff to do home visits with recruits, but coaches found a way to turn that negative into a positive.

"Not being able to do home visits started to become a disadvantage, so I created "Junior Day," said Timothy Valentine, associate head coach. "This makes up for the home visit recruiting that we cannot afford to do."

Many recruits traveled from the West coast and Midwest. It took those who did over a day just to get to Hampton, Va.

Tori Davis, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, traveled with his family from Phoenix, Arizona for a firsthand HBCU experience.

"I did not know what an HBCU was up until a few months ago," Davis said. "I feel that people my age need to experience and know about them, so that's why I came."

The recruits saw a day in a college athlete life firsthand.

"I like how we were able to watch the team practice and tour their locker room," said Ja' Niah Henson, a 16-year-old high school junior from Baltimore, Maryland. "It was cool to hang with the players without the coaches and my parents."

Adria Strothers has more appreciation for "Junior Day" now that she experienced it as a player instead of a recruit.

"Junior Day" convinced her to come to Hampton, she said.

"Junior Day played a big part in my commitment to Hampton," said Strothers. "It made me fall in love with the school and want to spend the next three years here."

Recruits and families said they enjoyed the event.

"Recruits are already looking forward to coming down for next year's event," said Jermaine Brown, assistant coach. "One recruit even told her mother she wants to go to school here."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Lady Pirates vs. Duke, Round III

By Taylor Lee and Carly Moon

So we meet again.

In the first round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament, the 15th seeded Hampton University Lady Pirates (20-12) will play the second-seeded, nationally ranked Duke Lady Blue Devils 9 p.m. Saturday March 18.

This is not the first time that Hampton and Duke have seen each other. It is the third encounter out of the six times that the Hampton women have been in the NCAA tourney in the past eight seasons.

Duke won the last meeting on March 24, 2013 by a 67-51 count. In 2010, Hampton lost 72-37.

A 15th seed beating a 2nd seed team has been done before by three Historically Black Colleges and Universities, all men's teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC): Hampton University, Norfolk State, and Coppin State University.

The Lady Pirates defeated Bethune Cookman University 52-49 and earned the 2017 MEAC tournament championship on March 11.

All-time scorer Malia Tate-DeFreitas, plus Ashley Bates and Chanel Green were three Hampton University regular-season starters that were sidelined because of injuries. Low post player Kaylah Lupoe was injured during the MEAC championship game. Together, the four student-athletes accounted for 57.5 percent of the team scoring.

"It was unlikely and improbable. We've got three starters sitting on the sideline, and then Lupoe gets hurt," said coach David Six (photo right). "And we still find a way."

"I am just so thankful to be a part of this team. When everyone thought we were going to lose or give up, we actually won," said Monnazjea Finney-Smith (photo right), member of the MEAC all-tournament team. "To be able to play against a great team [Duke] with such a great history is just exciting.

"I trust my coach will prepare us and have a great game plan, and I am definitely excited to be here."

To catch the game, tune into ESPN3 at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

If you want to support the Lady Pirates at the game in Durham, North Carolina, the Office of Student Activities is taking a bus to to cheer the girls on. The first 200 people to sign up can go for free. A mass email was sent notifying students to "Get on the Bus." In addition to a free ride and ticket to the game the passengers also get free T-shirts and lunch boxes.

"I want to make sure that the team has full support from their peers," said Anzell Harrell, director of student activities, "because I have watched them work so hard to get to this point."

Some Hampton students speculated on whether the women's basketball team could make it past Saturday. "I get scared when I hear big-school names like Duke compared to Hampton. They probably think it's going to be an easy win," said Isaiah Spencer, a sophomore journalism major from Montclair, New Jersey. "I know we're going to prove them wrong."

The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. prepares for NSU Battle of the Bay rematch

By Carly Moon

Hampton University prepares to host the second round of The Battle of the Bay rivalry game against Norfolk State University on Monday, Feb. 27.

The Pirates fell to the Spartans at the first round of the Battle of the Bay, losing 62-79 on Jan. 21.

The Lady Pirates won 58-57 that night.

"We didn't bring enough energy and toughness that a rivalry game requires," said Trevond Barnes (photo right), a sophomore forward for the Hampton men's basketball team.

Students from both schools promise to bring their A-games, including their best cheerleaders, the most lit band and lively crowds.

"We have been working vigorously for the last couple of weeks, to show that we are the best cheerleaders between the two schools." said Ronyae Northam, a sophomore elementary education major and Hampton U Hoo'rah cheerleader.

Hampton University leadership sent out mass emails about the match-up to students, faculty and staff during the days leading up until the games.

"They're always blowing up my phone with alerts." said Kenya Waugh, a sophomore strategic communications major, English minor from Washington, D.C. "But it helps me stay aware of the games and activities going on."

The game theme is "True blue with a dab of pink" to bring awareness and honor to breast cancer survivors. Hampton U. is also recognizing student-athletes who are on the Dean's List with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

"I'm excited to be honored at the game because, us student-athletes work so hard on and off the field, and still manage to get our work done," said Courtney James (photo right), a sophomore criminal justice major from Suffolk, Virginia.

Students from both schools are looking forward to game day -- an opportunity for students to represent with school spirit.

"I love it! It always brings a lot of good competition between the two schools," said Kayla Culbreath, a Norfolk State University sophomore biology pre-professional major from Atlanta. "Even though, it is a competitive game, the music, good crowd and dances bring us all together to represent one HBCU community."

Hampton students said they are determined to exhibit intangible feelings of school pride and to show out in the stands. The Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Training program has been the face of the crowd at basketball games, and for rivalry games nothing less is expected.

"I can't wait to sit with my SLP family and trash talk the other team," said Daliyah Ross, a sophomore business management major from Southern California.

The rivalry between both MEAC conference teams dates back to 1963. Both schools are geographically separated by the Hampton Roads harbor.

Hampton men, whose record is, 12-15, will face 15-14 Norfolk State at Hampton University's last home game on Monday at 9 p.m. The Lady Pirates play NSU at 6 p.m.

The men's game will be televised on ESPNU or you can listen on WHOV-FM 88.1.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Ballers: Howard vs. Hampton equals extra effort

Story by Nia Little

"Who is the real HU," you might ask? Well, the Hampton University women's and men's basketball teams take on Howard University Saturday at 4 and 6 p.m. at Hampton University's Convocation Center. Students and alumni from Howard, Hampton and nearby universities attend each year.

Cheerleading teams and dance teams prepare to entertain the crowd. Like other collegiate sports, cheerleaders practice throughout the week to prepare for upcoming games.

Diamond Broughton, a sophomore strategic communications major and member of the Blue Thunder cheerleading, squad says "Practice is more fun because we get to come up with new material to show off."

In the past, cheerleading teams would prepare new material for the larger crowd and possible cheer battles. A Hampton vs. Howard cheer battle video went viral during football season last fall.

Rivalry games like the visiting Bison vs. the Pirates are far more intense compared to other games during the season.

Said Broughton, "We put a little extra 'umph' into our appearance and performance."

Rival games are more than a battle between basketball teams, they give cheerleaders a chance to battle other squads and score points of their own.

"Other games, we usually don't have anyone to cheer against," said Broughton. "Most people don't realize cheerleaders have their own secret game going on, on the sideline."

What's a basketball game without a crowd? Students who do not regularly attend Hampton home basketball games plan to attend this one. "At games like this, the band plays new music, the cheerleaders are intense, and the crowd is more involved" said sophomore pharmacy major Tyra Smith.

Tristin Davis, a biology major from Memphis, Tennessee, plans to put on his best weekend outfit – a nice pair of jeans and a T-shirt and Nike Jordans – and hang out with friends in preparation for game time.

It is safe to say that the cheerleading team's hard work doesn't go unnoticed. There should be more attendees, dressed to impress at this week's game.

The Blue Thunder cheerleading team members said they are ready for this week's rivalry. Watch the cheerleaders live in action Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Super Bowl LI was a girlie good time

By Olivia Okeke

HAMPTON, Virginia -- Super Bowl Sunday in a house full of young women is not a typical game party.

Upon walking into the apartment you didn't get the vibe that the biggest football game in the world was on television. Songs such as "Best of me" by Jay Z and Mya were being played. Wine was being poured instead of beer and hard liquor.

The game was on mute. There were conversations about what kind of brownies should be made next.

Little attention was being paid to the game at all but the Hampton University students were concerned about one thing: the halftime show. Lady Gaga was performing and the women were super excited to see what dynamic she was going to bring to the concert this year.

Last year's Super Bowl performance by Beyoncé was utterly amazing, said some of the women, and the reunion of the iconic trio Destiny's Child made history.

"This year's show has to upstage last year's performance or it's going to be terrible," said Aalexis Campbell, a sophomore nursing major from California.

As the countdown for the show began, people's attention was focused on the projector screening Super Bowl LI.

At 8:13 p.m. Lady Gaga started the halftime show on the roof of NRG Stadium in Houston, paying tribute to America. Soon after that tribute Gaga jumped off the top of the stadium and onto the stage to begin her performance.

"That was definitely extremely expected and pretty cliche jumping off the roof," said Ayanna Mondesir, a sophomore history major from New York. "The show directors could have picked something cooler to do instead."

As Gaga continued the performance it just declined, said observers.

"She looks under rehearsed and confused with the directions," said Ashley Mckie, a sophomore strategic communications major from New York.

Once 8:20 p.m. came, the young ladies were up making brownies.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U’s community anticipates Super Bowl LI party

By Jazmin Bryant

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches Feb. 5, Hampton University students and employees looked forward to the game with anticipation.

"The [Atlanta] Falcons will make history," said Jordan McKinney, a sophomore political science major from New Jersey, and Falcons fan. "They haven't made it this far in years."

"For the Super Bowl, I plan to complete homework assignments and watch the commercials," Yamarie Sesay (photo below right), a junior journalism major from Maryland. "I look forward to the halftime show. Lady Gaga is a very interesting but yet entertaining performer."

Tomi Tabler, a senior biology major from Maryland, said, "Truthfully, I love football but I don't really care for the Super Bowl this year. Tom Brady is cool and all but I'm tired of seeing the [New England] Patriots.

"The commercials are honestly the best. I'll probably spend my time at a watch party vibing with friends."

During Super Bowl Sunday it is most likely for students to order big bulks of food from nearby restaurants for the football game. At restaurants on the edge of the Hampton U. campus, Wingzone, Subway and Tropical Smoothie were options.

"We are expecting a 20- to 30-percent increase in business this year because they cut our ordering short last year," said Wingzone manager Sergio Neal. "Between now [Thursday] and Saturday we will receive around 30 orders. Sunday we may be receiving somewhere between 200 to 300 customers or more."

According to Neal, the most popular order that Wingzone receives for the Super Bowl are the "Bone-in wings."

When asking the managers of the Subway and Tropical Smoothie what business would be like during the Super Bowl, it seems that there will not be any overwhelming orders coming in.

"They [students] normally go to a Walmart or Safeway to get the boxes of sandwiches and wings. We don't get a lot of orders because this is a student-oriented store unlike the other Subway up the road from here," said manager Sheetal Petal.

Some Hampton U. students who work at local restaurants said they have a very busy Sunday ahead of them.

"I'm looking forward to tips because I'm a server and I'm working the bar," said Lulu Louizaire (above left), a sophomore strategic communications major from Haiti, who works at a Buffalo Wild Wings.



The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. ATL students are all in for their Falcons

By Taylor Lee

HAMPTON, Virginia -- The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots go head to head Sunday at
Super Bowl LI in Houston, at 6:30 p.m. EST on Fox.

At Hampton University here, a contingent of Atlanta-area students said they are thrilled that their NFC champion Falcons will play for the ultimate prize.

"It's really a great feeling to see the Falcons finally going to the Super Bowl in my lifetime," said Carlton Griffin, a journalism major/cinema studies minor from Ellenwood, Georgia. "I've been a fan since I was born and it's been a tough ride being a Falcons fan.

"My birthday is Sunday, so a Super Bowl win would be the best present I could ask for."

Fans such as Kaelyn Lowe, a sophomore journalism major/leadership studies minor from Stone Mountain, Georgia, have pre game rituals when cheering on their favorite teams and specific ways they enjoy watching football games.

"I can't believe I forgot my Falcons jersey at home," she said. "I wear it every game.

"I still think my Falcons will go all the way!"

"It's really a great feeling to see the Falcons finally going to the Super Bowl in my lifetime," said Jeffrey Lowe, an electrical engineering major from Stone Mountain, Georgia. "I've been a fan since I was born and it's been a tough ride being a Falcons fan. It always seems like they'd get your hopes up and then find some way to disappoint you. A win in the Super Bowl would mean so much for the city and the real fans.

"I'll be watching with some friends. Anybody who has the Patriots winning might just lose their money."

This is Super Bowl specifically monumental for the Falcons and their fans because it has been almost 15 years since the team went to the big game. Atlanta Mayor Kassim Reed Friday signed an order that allows bars in the city to stay open until 3 a.m. Sunday night through Monday before dawn.

As for the Patriots, New England has gone to the Super Bowl eight times and have been victorious four times. Bill Belichick is a highly respected coach in the National Football League.

Hampton students from the East Coast who are Patriots fans said they were confident.

"I mean come on, Tom Brady is the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL right now there is no way we aren't going to Disney,' said Marshall Gordon, a freshman business management major from Reston, Virginia. "I don't think it will be a blowout for the Falcons or Patriots, but the Patriots have the upper hand with our amazing offense."

Zachary Bragg (photo right), a sophomore journalism major/sports management minor From Roselle, New Jersey, said "I'm going to watch the game in my dorm room.

"That way when I comment and talk trash on every play, I won't disturb anyone."

This game will be watched by millions of people all around the world, and only one team will become champions.

Whether you are a Falcons fan, Patriots fan, or just there for the food, drink and commercials, the Super Bowl is a big deal.

For those who have nowhere to go but just want to be around other students, the Hampton U. Student Government Association is hosting a Super Bowl watch party inside the Student Center Ballroom at 6 p.m.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton-Howard weekend: Battle of the real HU

By Kyla Wright

A question that has been asked among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for 148 years: who is the real HU?! This rivalry between Howard University and Hampton University has been going on since 1868 – the year that Hampton was founded – one year after Howard.

This weekend at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. marks one of the biggest annual HBCU events. Students, alumni, and many others attend the AT&T Nation's Football Classic –Hampton U. vs. Howard U. – too see which school can prove themselves as being worthy of the trophy, bragging rights, and the ultimate title of "The Real HU."

Keauna Lenton, a Hampton U. freshman pre-pharmacy major from Detroit, is traveling to our rival school on one of the six charter buses provided by the Office of Student Activities here. This form of transportation was convenient for many students as their $40 package included transportation to and from Washington, D.C., a T-shirt, and a boxed lunch.

Some upperclassmen students said the downside of traveling with the Office of Student Activities was that it is a turnaround trip. Genita Johnson, a sophomore marketing major from Boston, is driving to the game with friends and staying in D.C. for the weekend so that she can get "the entire HUHU experience," she said, a reference to the social aspects of the weekend.

Friday, at 1 p.m., launched the rivalry. The "Game Before the Game: Howard University vs. Hampton University Student Debate" was to take place in the Cramton Auditorium on Howard's campus, where members from both schools' debate teams would go head to head in three rounds of intense debating on pre-determined topics while they're being cheered on by their fellow Bison or Pirates in the audience.

Students, alumni and others from schools all around will likely be traveling late Friday or early Saturday so that they can make it to the Pepsi Block Party, or tailgate on the festival grounds of RFK Stadium on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

"I'm not into the football aspect of HUHU, but I'm looking forward to the tailgate and seeing my fellow Howard students," said Tanasia Smith, a junior journalism major from Harlem, New York.

The tailgate will be full of students and alumni from the HU's, Greeks, celebrity guest. The reality is, you never know who will pop up at these events.


Lauren Smith (pictured above, right), a sophomore health science major from Detroit, attends Howard and is all about socializing this weekend. She plans on attending the tailgate and any and every party succeeding the game.

Besides, what's a college weekend without a friendly rivalry and parties?!

Rivalry aside, one thing that Hampton and Howard students do great together is PARTY. We are both known to work hard, but play hard as well. One of Hampton's own, QT9's Cameron Benboe, better known as DJ Camo, will be hosting and DJ'ing one of the after parties on Saturday night.

The rumor around social media is that there will basically be a party at every corner, so if you like social functions, D.C. will be the place for you this weekend.

One thing is for sure, this weekend will be an interesting, but when it's all said and done, only one school can walk away with the title of the REAL HU. The question is, who will it be?

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. Pirates open football season at Old Dominion

By Daijiah Steele

The arrival of football season at Hampton University is apparent: The band can be heard practicing late nights, the cheerleaders rehearse their cheers and chants, and football players and coaches spend countless hours on the field.

The season opener will be 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Old Dominion University as the Pirates take on the Monarchs [The original 6 p.m. Saturday kickoff across the harbor in Norfolk was changed because of anticipated heavy rain – 3 to 6 inches – from the remnants of Hurricane Hermine].

Will Hampton University students be in attendance?

"Now that I'm a junior and have transportation, I'm willing to travel and support my friends on the cheerleading and football team at away games," said Arie'yana Easterling, a third-year psychology major from Durham, North Carolina. "Hampton needs more people to travel and support the team."

Freshman Rhian Elyse of Houston hopes the game atmosphere matches the invigorating culture of Texas high school football: "I'm so excited to a part of the fan club and cheer for our team."

Timia Whitsey, a sophomore from Houston, said, "I will be in attendance with the Student Leadership Program, so of course we will be sure to have the [people in the] stands cheering and screaming our favorite chants as we show why we love our Hampton Pirates."

Hampton's win-loss record was 6-5 last season and the team is 0-4 lifetime against ODU. The last time the Pirates played the Monarchs was 2 years ago and the game remained fairly close until the last quarter, in which ODU beat the Pirates 41-28.

"I would be interested in going to this game because both schools are close, and I might see someone I know," said Benjamin Faulks, a freshman accounting major from Portsmouth. "But I wasn't able to get a ticket because they sold out so fast. I'm disappointed."

Two-hundred-thirty tickets, according to the campus sports information director, went on sale Aug. 15 and were priced at $31 apiece. Unsold tickets were returned to ODU, which has sold out the last 48 games at 20,118-seat Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

Arianna Herriott and Jordan Parker contributed to this report. The students are majors in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. Pirates collect treasures at NCAA tourney

By Aaliyah Essex

Starting guard Reginald Johnson smoothly travels into the Hampton University basketball office. Suited up in Hampton Blue, the Chicago native looks as if he is prepared to tell a satisfying story. With his confident smile and friendly laugh, it was as if Johnson had changed the nation's perception of the typical Pirate.

Quite frankly, after two consecutive years of collecting cargo labeled, "MEAC Champions," accompanied by back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament, changing what it meant to be a Pirate is exactly what Johnson has done.

Using the game of basketball, the senior captain and his mates have made an impact that will set records on and off the court.

This past season, the Pirates charted their way into the NCAA Basketball Tournament where they battled No. 1 seed University of Virginia. Although Hampton did not bring back the gold after an 81-45 loss, they did not return to their home by the sea with an empty treasure chest.

According to University President William R. Harvey, the NCAA awarded the institution $1 million just to appear in the tournament. Harvey says the institution kept half of the money while the other half was given to the MEAC. The university's Director of Athletics Eugene Marshall says, "The money is equivalent to a grant that goes towards the betterment of the institution."

The success of the seasoned team has sailed beyond financial waters. Track and Field Coach Maurice Pierce said the success of the basketball team has helped him recruit athletes. During a speech at a March 21 athletic celebration held by the university, Pierce recognizes the basketball team's impact on his program: "We recruit a lot of kids and for whatever reason they'll say 'well we don't know what Hampton is. We've never heard of Hampton.'

"I say, turn on the TV.

"So I always tell [Coach] Buck, when y'all are on TV, we recruit. You [Coach Joyner] help me."

Edward "Buck" Joyner says the team has certainly marked an 'x' on the spot at HU.

"To get the school seen in a different light or in a different type of exposure, you know, it helps all of us, not just athletics. It helps admissions. It helps any potential sponsors, you know, and anything that the university wants to do."

The accomplishment of the men's team has entered waters beyond the university. As one of only two historically black colleges and universities to reach this spring's tournament, the team has affected their counterparts. Meanwhile, the Southern University Jaguars competed against the College of Holy Cross in the First Four round of the tournament. That HBCU lost a close game. The final score was 59-55.

Being that these predominantly African-American schools are often looked at as the lesser opponent, the Pirates and the Jaguars have certainly made a statement.

In addition to the impact that the men have made outside the team, the athletes have left an effect on the younger members of the team. Hampton freshman guard Akim Mitchell says he will continue the legacy that his older teammates have started: "A lot of people say that we cannot live up to the legacy that the seniors have begun. I'm not going for that. They taught us. They brought us up. So I'm not going for it. I am not accepting that." Hampton finished the season with an overall record of 21-11. They went 13-3 in the conference. During the regular season, the Pirates took two losses at home and at one point, went on an eight-game home winning streak. Joyner is quickly preparing his young team for the 2016-2017 season.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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