Midway thru January and it’s clear that Howard junior guard James “JByrd” Daniel III, who currently leads Div. I basketball men in scoring and two other categories, is not the only player making national headlines. And some black college teams are getting some attention too. Daniel, who sat out Howard’s historic 69-61 loss to Harvard Saturday because of a sore elbow, is still leading the MEAC and the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game. Daniel has topped the 30-point mark six times with a season high 39 vs. William & Mary.
Daniel also leads the nation in free throws attempted (176) and free throws made (154). His 87.5% free throw percentage is second best in the MEAC (behind NC A&T guard Sam Hunt’s 88.9%) and is tied for 28th nationally. Daniel also leads the MEAC and is fourth nationally in steals (2.8 per game). The Bison are 2-1 in the MEAC, 8-10 overall.
In Div. II women’s basketball, Virginia Union senior guard Kiana Johnson is the runaway leader so far in scoring in the CIAA and the nation. The 5-6 Michigan State transfer is averaging 26.9 points per game for the 12-1 Lady Panthers. Johnson has gone over 30 points in four games with a season-high 43 points in a win over CIAA power Shaw on Jan. 7.
Johnson’s teammate, 6-2 redshirt junior forward Lady Walker, is also putting up big numbers. Walker leads the CIAA and is third in the nation in rebounding, bringing down 12.5 per game. Walker is just behindJohnson in scoring in the CIAA getting 19.4 points per game while shooting 55.4% from the field (3rd).
Virginia Union, led to its 12-1 start by first-year head coach Ann Marie Gilbert, is tied for first with Chowan in early CIAA North Division play. The Lady Panthers were 21st nationally last week in the USA Today (Div. II) Coaches Poll.
Ahead of VUU in the national poll, at 17th is SIAC East Division leader Benedict. The Lady Tigers are 17-1 overall, 7-1 in SIAC play under fourth-year head coach James Rice. Their only loss was a one point decision to on the road at Kentucky State (74-73) in early December. Five-five senior guard Regime McCombs leads the Lady Tigers in scoring at 18.2 points per game.
South Carolina State junior college transfer Eric Eaves has been a key component in the Bulldogs’ good start (5-1) in MEAC play. Eaves, a 6-3 junior transfer from Dodge City Community College who has played most games off the bench, leads the ‘Dawgs and is seventh in scoring in the MEAC at 16.1 points per game. But he is fourth in the nation in free throw attempts with an incredible 155 thru 20 games. He’s shooting free throws (116 made) at a 74.8% clip.
Tennessee State has won five straight games to start the Ohio Valley Conference season at 5-0, 14-4 overall. Second-year head coach Dana Ford and the Tigers are now ranked 24th nationally in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll. Ford, who is the youngest Division I head coach at 31 years old, has his Tigers one win away from tripling last year’s win total of five. They will travel across town to take on Belmont Saturday (Jan. 23), currently tied with the Tigers at 5-0 atop the OVC standings.
Six-two redshirt senior guard Keron DeShields leads TSU in scoring getting 15.3 points per game. Six-five Niagara transfer and redshirt junior Tahjere McCall (12.4 ppg.) and 6-7 redshirt junior forward Wayne Martin (12.1 ppg.) give the Tigers three double-figure scorers. Martin also leads the team and is second in the OVC in rebounding pulling down 10.0 per game.