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MEAC Monday: Non-conference schedules, interviews and transformations

It’s a MEAC vibe. Get used to it.

NCAA Basketball: Howard at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot to cover as we enter uncharted waters in Mid-Major Madness’s first MEAC Monday.

Featured in this edition is a breakdown of Coppin State’s non-conference schedule. We also sing praises for the charitable work of South Carolina State head coach Murray Garvin and former Norfolk State star Kyle O’Quinn. Finally, we discuss the transformation occurring at North Carolina A&T, Florida A&M head coach Robert McCullum talks the upcoming season and the Howard Bison take on a few top programs.

Here we go.

Road games, and then a big one for Coppin State

First-year head coach Juan Dixon isn't shying away from building a competitive program at Coppin State. The Eagles non-conference schedule is headlined by trips to Georgia Tech, UConn, and West Virginia. Talk about being road warriors: Coppin State will open the season with six road games, beginning at Cincinnati on Nov. 16.

After spending the month of November exploring the United States, the Eagles’ first home game will be Dec. 6 against Navy. Christmas could come a few days early, as they’ll have an opportunity for an impressive win when they take on Mount St. Mary’s on Dec. 22nd. Here’s the full schedule:

Coppin State’s non-conference schedule

Date Opponent
Date Opponent
11-12-17 @ East Carolina
11-16-17 @ Cincinnati
11-17-17 @ Cleveland State
11-19-17 @Rutgers
11-21-17 @ Central Connecticut State
11-29-17 @ Houston
12-6-17 Navy
12-9-17 @ Connecticut
12-20-17 @ West Virginia
12-22-17 Mount St. Mary’s
12-27-17 @ Georgia Tech
12-30-17 @ Penn State

Paying it back

In an interview with WLTX News 19, Murray Garvin explains South Carolina State’s back-to-school bash event. This is the first event from Coach Garvin and his wife’s non-profit foundation, Garvin’s Goals, which will give away backpacks and school supplies to the first 300 kids in attendance.

Progress is made through knowledge, ideas, support and opportunity. Former Norfolk State Spartan Kyle O’Quinn is trying to create opportunities for HBCU basketball. Outlined in a report by Blackball Sports, Kyle O’Quinn coached in the inaugural NBA Player’s Association HBCU Top 50 Basketball camp. The camp is designed to help develop the top players from the SWAC and SIAC, as well as prepare current and former NBA players for potential coaching careers. O’Quinn is setting the example, plus doing the work, that could be the catalyst for the future advancement of HBCU basketball.

A fresh start in Greensboro

Last season is one that any fan, player, coach or person associated with North Carolina A&T has surely already tried to erase from memory. In what was head coach Jay Joyner’s first full season, his Aggies mustered just three overall wins, picking up their lone Div. I victory against rival NC Central. Joyner’s squad was at times competitive, but struggled to close out games. In an attempt to restore pride back into their program, Joyner has made several changes.

In a press release from the team’s website, the Aggies announced they will have ten new players eligible for next season. Of the ten newcomers, three players that took a redshirt year are already familiar with the culture and program: Japhet Kadji, Femi Olujobi, and Aaren Edmead. True freshmen guards Kameron Langley and Jalen Spicer join the backcourt, and are staying close to home, as they’re both from Greensboro. Forward Mohammed Abubaker and forward/center DeAndre Johnson round out the freshmen class.

While freshmen are key to the future development of a program, it’s important to have veterans on the roster. The Aggies added Georgia Southern graduate transfer Devonte Boykins, whose experience should help build the appropriate culture. The final two new members come by way of junior college: guards Kwei Lartey and Milik Gantz. With so many new pieces it will be interesting to see how well this group meshes and what brand of basketball coach Joyner will display.

Catching up in Tallahassee

Robert McCullum is two months in at Florida A&M, and still orchestrating all of the Rattlers basketball duties on his own. Courtesy of Allison Posey with WTXL, McCullum spoke of the upcoming season’s excitement and challenges.

Bison to face the best

Lastly, the Howard Bison are in the process of completing their non-conference schedule, but are sure to be battle tested come MEAC play. The Bison will face two of the most well-known programs in the country. On Nov. 12, Howard with visit Indiana in the Hoosiers Tip-Off Classic. Just two days later, the Bison travel to face last year’s national runner-up, Gonzaga. These two match ups give Howard some of the best non-conference games of any MEAC school in 2017-18, as well as the opportunity to elevate the team’s play in hopes of making some noise within the conference.