View from the Hilltop: Hitting rock bottom

Howard suffers an embarrassing loss and another injury

When James Daniel went down with a left ankle injury before the start of the season, the Howard men’s basketball team didn’t panic. By the start of conference play, Daniel, the nation’s leading scorer last season, was expected to come back healthy and the Bison were still confident the team could make a run at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title.

Daniel showed signs of his importance to the team in his first game back against Florida A&M on Jan. 4, scoring 24 points in the conference opener. But early in his second game at Columbia on Jan. 7, he reinjured the ankle. Lacking his normal agility, Daniel scored just 10 points. A visit to the doctor two days after the team returned to Washington, D.C., brought news the Bison didn’t want to hear: Daniel would be sidelined for at least two weeks.

With Daniel, Kai Tease (broken foot) and Dalique Mingo (sprained left ankle) all out, Howard will take the court on Saturday against Maryland-Eastern Shore with its fourth- and fifth-string point guards, Ausar Madison and Chuck Smith.

The Bison are obviously no longer the MEAC favorites.

“In all my years of coaching,” Howard coach Kevin Nickelberry said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”