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.

‘Why not us?’ says Hampton U. Pirates about to play No. 1 U. Va.

By Lexy Brower

For the second year in a row, Hampton University punched their ticket into the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Placed as the No. 16 seed, they will take on No. 1 seed University of Virginia 3:10 p.m. Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

The Hampton Pirates are already viewed as the underdogs, but the players feel pretty confident about taking on what many may call a tough task. Some say it would be a miracle for the Pirates to successfully defeat the Cavaliers. Since 1985, No. 1 seeds are 120-0 vs. No. 16s. Yet there have been close calls, such as Princeton's near upset of Georgetown in 1989.

The score was 50-49.

"I guess some could look at it as being a miracle. It's a 16 seed vs. one seed. It would be a miracle since a 16 seed has never won, but we don't feel like that at all," says senior and Hampton team captain, Reggie Johnson. "We feel we have a good chance at winning the game. It's all about a game plan and having confidence that you can get it done more than anything.

"Records are meant to be broken and there are history books for a reason. Why not us?"

Over the last few years, the Pirates have had a master plan to get into the NCAA tournament but this year Hampton Nation fans will see if they have plans to advance in the NCAA tournament. Playing against some of the best teams in the country, the 21-win, 10-loss Pirates' consistency proves that they are eager and ready to meet the Cavaliers.

"Last year in the beginning, Hampton made a good run against Kentucky," says former Hampton University Lady Pirate basketball player, Bayley Coleman. "So anyone can win a game, no matter the name on the jersey. You also have to prepare yourself, on and off the court. Games like this, you must see their jerseys as blank, like it's any other team you've played."

In 2001, Hampton, a No. 15 seed, upset No. 2 seed Iowa State University 58-57. MEAC [Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference] allies Coppin State and Norfolk State universities also pulled off No. 15 vs. No. 2 upsets in 1997 and 2012.

All eyes are in Raleigh today, but which team will come home making Virginia proud?

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

ESPN cameras to record Hampton U. lacrosse history

By Aaliyah Essex

ESPN cameramen tiptoed into class right behind student Darrel Kidd. Students quickly turned their attention to the large lenses and boom mics. With class ongoing, the professor attempted to continue class until one curious student asked, "What's going on?"

Little did she know, these cameramen were documenting history.

Darrell Kidd of Hampton University is a player on the only Division I men's lacrosse program at a HBCU [Historically Black College or University]. The team will officially take the field for the first time this at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Roberts Wesleyan College. The event will be broadcasted on ESPN's "Sports Center on the Road." Kidd is to be profiled in "All Access" segments between 10 a.m. and noon.

The Pirates' lacrosse program began as a club team initiated by former student Michael Crawford in 2010. Before Crawford could see the outcome of his efforts, he died in his family's home due to issues with an enlarged heart.

After the death, Crawford's parents persistently sought to continue Mike's lacrosse legacy at Hampton. According to Head Coach Lloyd Carter, the couple contacted him and asked about the steps they needed to take in order to see their son's vision through. Crawford replied saying, "I think God told you to call me." After receiving the call, the Baltimore resident began making weekly trips to Hampton University to assist with the lacrosse club.

Carter's sacrifice wasn't taken for granted. Though the program was a club, players were just as committed as players on varsity teams. "I took the club team very seriously because Coach Carter took time out of his schedule to coach us for no pay," said Kidd, the captain. "I saw it as disrespect if I didn't show up to practices."

Last spring, Hampton U. hosted Lacrosse Day and club teams from Morgan State University, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Morehouse College competed.

After about a year and a half of Carter's weekly commutes from Maryland, Hampton University President William R. Harvey and Athletic Director Eugene Marshall, Jr. declared the club a NCAA varsity team.

Carter played varsity lacrosse at Morgan State, the previous NCAA varsity program at an HBCU, that existed from 1970-1981, reported the Baltimore Sun.

With the NCAA membership came many changes. Kidd of Westchester, New York said, "Everything seemed like it got much more serious." According to Kidd, a senior, the transition meant various NCAA meetings, paperwork, and clearing house registration.

While Kidd believed that the administrative process was the hardest, Carter spoke about the physical transition. "We are playing at a much higher competition level now and because of that we really have to focus on the fundamentals," said Carter. "And we were prepared for the challenge."

As the Pirates take on the challenge of becoming a NCAA team, the team hopes to take their influence beyond the university. The team has conducted camps at local schools in order to expose the sport to young African-Americans. "We hope to expose the sports and give [students] other opportunities for higher learning," said Carter.

With the season officially kicking off this weekend, the cameras will turn their attention to the field as the Pirate's first NCAA season begins.

Follow Hampton U. lacrosse on Twitter: @Hampton_MLAX

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

Visiting Red Hawks lacrosse team will face HU Pirate Nation

By Kayla Wimbush

Forty-eight hours before the big game Saturday against Roberts Wesleyan College, the Hampton University men's lacrosse team practiced indoors at the Student Center. The buzz around campus was sparked by the highlight of senior Darrel "DJ" Kidd. Just one week before, ESPN went behind the scenes to get a deeper look at the Hampton men's lacrosse captain and his life.

Walking up to the third floor of the Student Center the sun shined through the windows and cast light on the history that was just hours away from being made. Slowly but surely the team members made their way up the stairs and greeted each other like old friends back from a long vacation.

DJ wouldn't have guessed that a suggestion from a friend in high school would lead to a love and passion that would bring him to this point. Not knowing what the future would hold heading to Hampton U. in the fall of 2012, throwing his lacrosse stick in the car gave him a bond that is about to hit televisions across the country. It wasn't an easy road to take this club sport and make a group of guys a Division I NCAA varsity team.

"It hasn't been easy," said the bundled-up captain from Westchester, New York. "It's been a lot of late nights and early mornings, and it can be overwhelming at times with the media, but it's been a great experience. I'm grateful."

Kidd's calm and humble demeanor draws you in. You can feel his passion that forces you to want to support the team.

As the rest of the players file in, the elevators open to a strong voice gathering the young men. The coach has arrived.

Immediately the guys fall into place as the captains lead the stretches and old school-music plays across the room. In passing, one would not guess the men's Lacrosse team was preparing for a nationally televised game, as the sultry tunes of Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" accentuates the mood. It doesn't feel at all like practice, the usual dread of running and going through drills. There's a family reunion feel that breaks the barriers of strangers, brought together by a common love for a gentlemen's sport. With the smooth old-school jams and good laughs, the only thing missing is a spread of good food.

"Some people on campus have been really receptive and excited," said Kidd. "I've gotten a lot of good luck texts over the last few days. Some people still don't know we have a team, but after ESPN came and shot 100 days [senior's countdown to May graduation] it definitely helped."

DJ is very aware of his opponents and the leg up they may have with their cohesiveness and years of competition at the collegiate level, but the senior captain said he is not worried. The Pirates' bond can be contributed attributed to their Sunday team dinners, and their confidence in what they do well. Kidd's role as captain is to keep the guys humble and grounded. They are skillful players with a heart to work hard and win.

When the Roberts Wesleyan Redhawks cross over into Pirate Nation, it will be their team versus this family.

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

Super Bowl 50, an American holiday for Hampton U. students

By Brianna Jackson

HAMPTON, Virginia – The Super Bowl is an American culture holiday.

When the game approaches, football fans over prepare by making reservations at restaurants that broadcast the game such as Dave and Busters or Buffalo Wild Wings, or ordering lump sums of foods from places like Farm Fresh, Subway or Jason's Deli so they can have guests over to share this moment. But whatever way people choose to celebrate, this game in particular is always a big deal.

Shannon Scott, a fourth-year Hampton University student in the 5-year MBA program from Philadelphia, and his roommate Tyrin Ellington, also a fourth-year in the 5-year MBA program from West Bloomfield, Michigan, decided to have their own Super Bowl party at their apartment. For their guests, they had multiple flavored wings, pizza, beer, and Hawaiian Punch.

Most of the people attending this party in particular were Carolina Panthers fans.

"I'm going for the Panthers tonight," said Jibri Ward, a senior graphic design major, computer science minor from Houston.

"I've always liked the [Denver] Broncos and Peyton Manning. I think he's a great quarterback, but I'm rooting for Cam Newton to win this one."

One of the most memorable game moments for this crowd was when Jordan Norwood, the wide-receiver for the Denver Broncos, caught the ball and took it down the field 61 yards, making it the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.

"It was very impressive," said Arriana Mclymore, a journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina. "I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before."

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

Hampton U. students select Super Bowl 50 menus

By Jaida Bayton

With Super Bowl 50 approaching Sunday, many people are gearing up to throw watch parties and get-togethers to see the big event with their friends. Many details go into throwing such an event like this: Where will the party be, how big is the television screen, and most importantly, what kind of food will you be serving?

Many people choose to simply prepare food for their parties. Charles Cephas, a Hampton University senior computer science major from Baltimore, said "I tend to watch the Super Bowl at my apartment with my friends. We usually make food like wings and fries to eat during the game."

For bigger parties, you're going to obviously need more food. Places like Wing Zone, Hooters, Subway, and Buffalo Wild Wings offer catering services where you can order large amounts of food for as low as $50. At Subway, that amount serves 10 to 12 people, according to the "Grab a 3-foot giant sub and watch the big game with friends" promotion.

Buffalo Wild Wings advertised 80 chicken wings for $67.99 that could feed 16 to 20 people, and the Wing Zone offer was 100 pieces for $74.99 to feed 10 to 15 people.

You also have the choice of going to the restaurants to watch the game.

"I'm really a big fan of football, and I love going into Buffalo Wild Wings during sports events. The atmosphere is crazy and the food is so good," said Kennedi Riley, a junior kinesiology major from Baltimore. "Their wings and service are truly the best."

If you have nowhere to watch the game on campus, Hampton University's Student Government Association will be holding a Super Bowl party in the Student Center Ballroom at 6 p.m. There will be food and refreshments provided.

The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will be playing each other during the Super Bowl 50 on February 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Levi's Stadium in California on CBS.

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

Players, fans anticipate competitive NSU-Hampton U. basketball game

By Khalida Volou

Who's ready for the annual Battle of the Bay?

Well, Hampton University Pirates are anticipating yet another win against the Norfolk State Spartans. It is evident that this game has become one of the biggest games of the year aside from the "Battle of the Real HU" vs. Howard University and has had huge turnouts for three years in the row.

Students here are ready to take on those Spartans. "You never know what to expect, they both bring it!" said Christiana Cole, a junior Communicative Science and Disorders major from Alexandria, Virginia.

The rivalry between the two universities started out during the football season of 1963. The two schools are separated by the Hampton Roads harbor. Because these two universities are close in proximity it has made this rivalry a friendly one. "The rivalry isn't like the HU versus HU game. Our Norfolk [State] versus Hampton game is friendlier, it is two HBCU's coming together and fighting it out and then we party together," said Cole.

This yearly match up eventually advanced to include basketball season and other sports at both universities. Today, the tournament name "Battle of the Bay" is used when both schools have any athletic competition.

Now that it is basketball season students from both universities are ready to take this rivalry to the next level. "I expect a big crowd, large population from both schools, and definitely a win!" said Hampton U. freshman Sherena Sabla, Communicative Science and Disorders major from Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference website the Pirates were the last team to win on this ongoing rivalry. Dating back to the 2012-2013 season the Pirates lost both games that season, then during the 2013-2014 season they regained their standing and won both games. During the 2014-2015 season, the Spartans won two games and the Pirates ended the rivalry strong winning in overtime the final game of that season. Reginald Johnson scored 11 points hitting three 3-points.

The current standing of the Pirates is 11-8 and Norfolk State is 10-12. The Spartans are hungry for this win to move up in the conference before championships. "Last year out of the times that we played Norfolk State it was the hype of Hampton versus Norfolk," said Reginald Johnson, team captain of Hampton U. men's basketball. "This time it's a one verse two, we're No. 1 and they are No. 2. It is going to be a big game as far as atmosphere and actually meaning something for conference."

With Norfolk State having high rankings in stats and Hampton becoming better in winning conferences, what are the odds? "I think it's going to be a close game, it's going to be really tight," said Maurice Williams, Hampton University sports information director.

Students from both universities are putting their hopes on this game, especially Hamptonians. "It is important for us to beat Norfolk," said Johnson, "and it is important for us to stay No. 1 at conference to keep riding out, and so far we have been doing good."

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

Hampton U. vs. NSU means battle of the stands

By Aaliyah Essex

Pirate Nation looks to take the court against the Spartans in the annual "Battle of the Bay." Hampton will host the double header against Norfolk State Saturday, Jan. 30.

The 8-12 Lady Pirates will take on the 0-18 Lady Spartans at 4 p.m. Hampton University's men's basketball team is scheduled to take on Norfolk State at 6 p.m. With the two male teams sitting at No. 1 and 2 in the MEAC respectively, the matchup is expected to be full of intensity.

With both schools within a 15-mile radius, the competition tips off far beyond the wooden planks. For fans at both Historically Black Universities, the rivalry that dates back to 1963 seeps into the stands.

Renee Stephen, graduate of the Hampton's Class of 1985, still enjoys the rivalry. "HU has always been seen as the cream of the crop academically, and for a while, NSU was known as the cream of the crop athletically," explains Stephen. "This causes each side to have to prove themselves to one another. We're constantly fighting to win."

Stephen took her son to experience the matchup as a young child. Her son Antrell, who is currently a Hampton student, now takes his mom's place in the stands.

"Honestly, when it comes to NSU, it's literally like a tournament," says the junior sports management major. "Teams versus teams. Cheerleaders versus cheerleaders. Fans versus fans. Wardrobes versus wardrobes. It's so competitive because we are the two African-American schools in the Hampton Roads area."

Though both schools are small compared to others in the NCAA, the fans feel that the competition is just as relevant. "This is the Duke vs. UNC [North Carolina] of HBCU's," says junior HU student, Gary Faulcon. "They are both right here and all the students are very active in the rivalry."

Kelsey Jenkins, a junior NSU student, relates the opposition to the NFL. "It's like the Redskins against the Cowboys. It's exciting."

As the day approaches, fans gear up for an action-packed night. After the regulation clock winds down, fans begin to put aside their school spirit in order to unite. "It's a friendly rivalry," says alumna Renee Stephen. "We are rooting for NSU," she says in regards to their recent administrative controversies. "We represent black schools in the area. So at the end of the game, we are together."

Supporters from both sides are patiently awaiting their opportunity to take bragging rights. With both male teams suffering one loss in conference play, the some fans said they are anticipating war!

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

Hampton Pirates set sail, hoping to plunder Potomac rivals

By Amanda Hill

Friday, Sept. 18, Hampton University Pirates will go helmet to helmet with the Howard University Bison for the annual Battle of the Real HU football game. The venue is RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. At 7:30 p.m.

The only question that matters is how are you getting there? "I'm not sure how I'm getting there, said Nick Johnson, a senior finance major from Dallas, "but all I know is I'm going."

Many of the Hampton faithful need to be in attendance as they play in Howard's home. Bison supporters young and old will probably be in support of dismembering Pirate pride.

Many Hampton students from the D.C. area said they will be driving back home, packing up for the Megabus or stuffing into two-door convertibles with more pride than space for the weekend in order to show support. Alexa Hailes, a senior, business management major who prepared for her Friday drive, said, "This is my hometown, but you already know what it is: Hampton all day!"

Meanwhile, the visiting Pirates are getting in the mind set to represent their Home by the Sea. Leon Shorter, a senior sports management major from Fort Pierce, Fla., said that they have played in the Bison stadium before and this is yet another opportunity to go out there show Howard just how real this HU is. "We aren't fazed," said Shorter, "this is what we do, we play and are ready to win."

Blue Thunder and Hampton's Greek will be showing up and out as well. Quenton Jordan, a senior accounting major, from Chicago, said he will be driving his car to D.C. to stroll off with his line brothers representing Alpha Phi Alpha: "My LBs and I have confidence Hampton will rise to the occasion."

Nya Harris, a senior strategic communication major from Washington, D.C., interned this summer with Events D.C. in the marketing and communication department and knows all about the hype of preparing for the game. The sports entertainment division was where Harris applied her public relations skills in handling the Nation's Football Classic accounts. "To get the opportunity to be a part of the chaos, I now understand all the work that goes into something like this," she said. "I am extremely excited to see the turnout."

Student-athlete Shorter encouraged Hampton Nation to pump up the pride enough to fill the 45,000-seat RFK Stadium.

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

Hampton Nation on road again to watch Lady Pirates battle W. Va.

By Jelani Scott

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Getting the chance to represent your university is an opportunity that many members of Hampton Nation get when they step foot off this campus.

That opportunity could come in the form of a conference where there is the chance to show off our intellectual prowess. But there is something about getting the opportunity to attend a sporting event that pits HU against "everybody" [a slogan on Hampton Nation T-shirts] that brings every Pirate together in a way that's unlike any other.

This special bond was again put on display Tuesday, March 24 when students and faculty boarded a bus to travel six-plus hours here to support their Lady Pirates basketball team as they took on the West Virginia University Mountaineers in the second round of the Women's NIT.

With tipoff scheduled at 7 p.m., fans were instructed to meet at the Student Center by 10 a.m. so that they could be checked off and cleared to travel. Conflicts with class schedules managed to keep some Pirates docked on the shore of our "Home by the Sea," but those that were able to maneuver and create some space on their schedule boarded the bus.

It was smooth sailing down I-64 West and I-95 North as all aboard the bus seemed to enjoy their journey. Friendly disputes over which movies would be watched to pass the time or the vocal amazement at the beauty of the mountainous ranges the bus traveled past filled the air and, along with it, came a sense of camaraderie.

Once WVU Coliseum was in view, the anticipation began to build. Once the bus doors parted and fans got their tickets, it took only minutes for everyone to get seated behind the Lady Pirates' bench and cheer them on with our trademark flair.

The game went back and forth and, while WVU pulled away with the win, it was clear at the sound of the final buzzer that every fan in blue and gold or HU blue and white had fun. WVU fans could be seen high fiving HU fans, with one audibly saying, "We had fun with you guys!"

One can only imagine what the response would've been if our cheerleaders and band also made the trip.

I was approached numerous times by WVU fans asking me how long was our trip, where exactly are we located, and fans asked about our men and women's teams. It was nice to see another host site, who, like University of Kentucky on a previous road trip, be pleasant and inviting to an HBCU.

March has been a good month for Hampton U. athletics and for HU in general. I'm glad that I along with my fellow Hamptonians got the chance to travel outside of Hampton Roads and experience these events. Hopefully, we'll be able to do it all over again next school year.

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

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