Robert Osbourne

Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off gives smaller HBCUs chance to shine

Three D2 HBCUs and one from the NAIA get a chance to shine in the Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off.

The second-annual Boost Mobile Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off starts Tuesday, giving four non-Division I HBCUs the opportunity to play under the bright lights.

The game will feature two teams from the CIAA, one from the SIAC and a third from the NAIA all playing on ESPN Plus. The games will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.

Virginia Union won the inaugural Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off and will be looking to bring some more hardware back to Richmond from the two-day tournament. 

“This is a big stage opportunity and play on ESPN and Chris Paul — you know one of the greatest point guards to play the game —  to give HBCU schools an opportunity to play on a big stage. Our goal is to go out and win the tournament,” VUU head coach Jay Butler said. “(Winston-Salem State head coach) Cleo Hill and I, we talk all the time and we pushed for the winner to continue to defend the crown.”

VUU won 23 games during the 2021-2022 season comes into the event 2-0 with wins over Shippensburg and Millersville over the weekend. Its’ opponent for the opener is Clark Atlanta of the SIAC. It enters the game 0-2 under first-year head coach Alfred Jordan.

“I’m looking forward to that type of challenge, especially as a first year head coach to go up against such a veteran that has been doing a very good job over there at Virginia Union,” Jordan said just prior to the start of the season. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the team reacts and I’m also looking to see how well I do as a coach, accepting the challenge to play the juggernaut.”

The VUU-Clark Atlanta matchup is set to take place at 4 P.M. 

The other matchup will see Johnson C. Smith of the CIAA take on Xavier Louisiana, the lone NAIA school in the field. 

JCSU started the season taking on the top team in the country as it played North Carolina in an exhibition. It is currently 1-1 on the season. XULA comes into the game 3-0, including a 72-60 win over LeMoyne-Owen, a D2 HBCU in the same league as Clark Atlanta. That matchup will take place at 6:30 PM on Tuesday.

Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off
Xavier is the lone NAIA game in the Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off. (Yamlak Tsega/XULA photo)

Chris Paul HBCU event gives D2s an extra boost

Both Jordan and Butler acknowledged that playing on this platform is huge for their programs, which rarely get such opportunities as HBCUs playing Division II basketball. 

“Our goal is to go out and keep winning because it’s a first class event, just to get the opportunity to go out there and showcase our talent and put Virginia Union on the map. Let America see Virginia Union is is a strong academic school, a very talented athletic program, football doing well.

Jordan said he anticipates this tournament helping his program with recruiting. 

“It’s very hard sometimes to compete with schools that you know are going to get games on ESPN Plus, and you’re scrambling every game to send out a link for family and friends just to watch games,” he said. “So for our teams to get the chance to finally participate on a national scale shows the world the power of HBCUs and also the hidden gems at HBCUs.”

Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off gives smaller HBCUs chance to shine
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