WATCH Mid-Major | HBCU Gameday x TLS Sports Documentary
In the world of NCAA college basketball, where you play can sometimes be more important than how you play.
The 352 schools that makeup Division 1 college basketball are, for better or worse, broken up into categories based on the level of competition and funding.
For Historically Black Colleges and Universities, most exist at the bottom of the conference caste system, with the MEAC and the SWAC being considered “low-major” conferences. But when North Carolina A&T joined the Coastal Athletic Conference in 2022, they put themselves in a position to become, with Hampton University, HBCU basketball’s first “mid-major” basketball school.
Not only had the Aggies just won their first outright MEAC title in 30 years, but they had just signed the highest-ranked American-born prospect in HBCU basketball history when then-head coach Will Jones signed Duncan Powell. The 84th-ranked recruit in the country out of Desoto High School in Dallas, Texas.
In April of 2022, HBCU Gameday resident filmmaker Wali Pitt teamed up with coach Will Jones, Duncan Powell, and TLS Sports to begin filming a documentary project on the Aggie’s move into mid-major basketball.
Fast forward 18 months later, the North Carolina A&T basketball program has had a complete staff and player overhaul.
After parting ways with Will Jones in August of 2022, his assistant Philip Shumpert took the reigns and led Duncan Powell and a talented roster in their first season of basketball in the CAA in 2023.
Mid-Major, an almost hour-long documentary spans an entire calendar year in which Aggie basketball moved to a new conference, hired a new coaching staff, and as we start the 2023-2024 season, features a nearly brand new roster.
“This film really shows how big this transition has been for A&T basketball,” says Mid-Major producer Wali Pitt. “Moving conferences 3 times in 5 years is bound to bring about change, but following Duncan and the guys last year makes you think about the human element that can get lost in the…kinda, fan hype surrounding conference realignment.”
Mid-Major also gives an inside look into the business side of college basketball’s name, image, and likeness processes by sitting in on a meeting with Duncan and his reps from TLS Sports.
TLS Sports is the sports division of TLS Talent Agency, representing professional athletes, coaches, NIL athletes, and on-air personalities. They believe that development and proper exposure are key components to the success of their clients, and we see that firsthand in the film as they help Duncann navigate the waters of NIL representation.
New North Carolina A&T basketball head coach Monte’ Ross leads the Aggies into year 2 in the CAA with only three players returning from a season ago. The Aggies start their 2023-2024 season on the road against the University of Pittsburg at 7 p.m. on November 6th, 2023.