Howard Basketball Stars Achieve Dual Success, Excelling In Sports While Pursuing Academic Endeavors
Towns attended his first two years at Harvard University, where he was Ivy League Player of the Year and AP All-America honorable mention, according to The Grio. The forward suffered knee and back injuries that hindered his performance as an athlete. Towns obtained his undergraduate degree before pursuing a master’s at Ohio State. At the time, he thought his basketball days were over but ultimately gave it another chance. Towns enrolled at Howard and joined the Bisons.
“I think I have restructured my relationship with basketball,” Towns told The Columbus Dispatch. “It is much healthier now. I’m not saying I put my entire identity into basketball, but man, it was hard because that’s kind of the only professional aspiration I’ve had.”
“Everything else was kind of subsidiary to that,” he added. “Now, I think I’ve released myself from the need to play at whatever level. I’m very grateful I’ll have another chance to play, and I love the sport and all that, but I would say my connection to it isn’t as unhealthy as it was before.”
At 26, Towns is now the oldest NCAA basketball player. He is currently pursuing a doctoral program in English literature. Deciding to attend Howard was an obvious choice for Towns.
“I knew off jump that I wanted to go to Howard if I had any eligibility left,” he told Slam. “I feel like the value of something like attending an HBCU isn’t always seen clearly. It’s [ours] to build, ours to protect, and ours to cultivate into this huge magical thing.”
Joshua Strong is also part of the Bison and is pursuing a potential future career at Howard. The foot guard earned his bachelor’s degree in two years, which he completed last Spring. He pursued his studies at the law school while being a team member.
“I always had a passion for social justice,” he told The Washington Post. “I guess early, I kind of conceptualized law as the way to attack that. I was always smart, and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re going to be a doctor, engineer.’ Well, how am I going to help Black people?”
The 21-year-old says he was inspired by Seton Hall’s Braden Anderson, who is believed to be the first Division I men’s basketball player also to attend law school.
“I just think that, like, you have to be strong-willed,” Strong added. “As a Black man, they’re going to try to break your will. … I’ve got to know what I believe. I need to be a lawyer so I can help my people.”