“Honestly, he’s really crazy and we’re going to shut him down until he gets well because he just isn’t right now,” said Blakeney. “He can’t move and I don’t want him to be counterproductive now.”
The five-star recruit suffered a groin injury during a pre-season training session but had reassured Blakeney and Howard training staff that he was comfortable playing with the disease.
Despite concerted efforts to limit Maker’s workload in the days and weeks leading up to Thursday’s season opener against Belmont, Maker was unable to fully recover.
During the Bison’s two Paradise Jam games, both defeats, the 6-foot-11 striker was seen working up and down the pitch, spending every break in action to be treated by the training staff.
“He’s such a competitor that he really wanted to try and do what was best for his teammates and for himself,” said Blakeney. “But sometimes you have to help people get out of the way, and I think this is one of those times we have to do that.”
Although Maker, who was eligible to receive the NBA draft from high school at age 19, was number 16 in the nation according to the 2020 ESPN 100 class recruitment ranking, he received an undesigned projection. As a result, Maker removed his name from the draft and signed up to Howard, despite having scholarship offers from powerhouse programs like Kentucky and UCLA.
“I was the first to announce I was going to see Howard and others were dreaming, ‘What if,'” Maker tweeted in July. “I have to make the HBCU movement a reality so that others can follow. I hope I inspire people like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I sign up to Howard U & Coach Kenny Blakeney. “
Since Maker is out for the foreseeable future, Howard (0-2) is now missing four of his five planned starters, only two games in the season.
Freshman Jordan Wood (shoulder), reigning MEAC Freshman of the Year Wayne Bristol Jr. (Labrum / Covid Precautions), and senior Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern (ankle / waiting for NCAA transfer waiver) are yet to sign up for qualify the bison.
In two games, Maker averaged 11.5 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.