(ThyBlackMan.com) It’s a very busy time on the sports calendar. The 2022 Major League Baseball season ended with the Houston Astros and manager Dusty Baker winning the World Series, the NBA season has been full of headlines by big names like Kyrie Irving and Giannis Antetokounmpo for different reasons, the NHL season is a few weeks in, and the NFL has hit a relative midway point of its 2022 regular season after a fun trade deadline. One of the more fascinating major sports, college basketball, has recently tipped off with both men’s and women’s seasons beginning. Here are some of the interesting storylines to follow for the 2022-23 college basketball season featuring African/Black women:
-South Carolina women’s basketball begins repeat bid: South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is one of the best and most high-profile head coaches in men’s or women’s college hoops. Her credentials stand out among college basketball head coaches even more with the recent retirements of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Villanova’s Jay Wright. She looks to attain her third national championship at South Carolina and tries to lead them to their second consecutive title this season with frontcourt superstar Aliyah Boston as the headliner.
–Will women’s academics in basketball excel off the court again?: Despite the understandable snickers when the phrase “student-athlete” is used about college athletes, most college athletes put in considerable work in terms of excelling in the classroom when they are competing athletically. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport released a report, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Academic Progress/Graduation Success Rate Study of the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament Teams.” It identified the teams’ Academic Progress Rates (APR) in addition to their Graduation Success Rates (GSR). According to Richard Lapchick, the women’s teams again scored higher in the APR and GSR category compared to their male counterparts. The 2022 NCAA Tournament APR/GSR study showed that female basketball student-athletes graduated at a higher rate than their male counterparts, with the women graduating at an average of 93.9 percent and the men graduating at an average of 87.2 percent.
-Will there be another Jamie Means in college basketball this season?: There are obviously a lot of college basketball players excelling academically in different fields of study. Last season, Incarnate Word women’s basketball player Jamie Means played in that school’s first appearance in the NCAA women’s tourney one year after taking off a season from basketball to study for the MCAT that she ending up passing. The MCAT is Medical College Admission Test, is a computer-based test that is necessary in medical school admissions. It is always great to see young African/Black people in the medical field.
-The incredible recovery of USC women’s basketball player Aaliyah Gayles: Gun violence remains a major problem and it affects people of all ages. High school basketball star Aaliyah Gayles of the Class of 2022 was shot 10 times at a North Las Vegas house party in April 2022 and suffered bullet wounds on each of her arms and legs. Despite undergoing several surgeries and losing feeling in her legs for at least several weeks following the shooting, Gayles signed a letter-of-intent to play at USC and was cleared by doctors to return to the basketball court months after the horrific event. She has shown remarkable focus to get to the point she currently is and her story is worth monitoring.
-History-making Tamara Moore looks for men’s hoops success: Former WNBA player Tamara Moore was hired by Mesabi Range College, a junior college, as the only female head coach of a men’s collegiate program in the country back in 2020. Moore also became the first African/Black woman to be head coach of a men’s team after Kerri-Ann McTiernan coached Kingsborough Community College in the 1990s. Moore’s team improved to a 9-17 record last season in Moore’s first season coaching and will try to get to .500 or better this season.
Staff Writer; Mark Hines