WILBERFORCE — Forward Dwight Richards, Jr. and point guard Keilan Blanks represented the Central State University men’s basketball program at the National Basketball Players’ Association HBCU Top 50 Camp in Atlanta last week.
Featuring student-athletes from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), The inaugural NBPA HBCU Top 50 Camp was held at Forbes Arena on the campus of Morehouse College. During the two-day camp, student-athletes received skill development on the court from current and retired NBA players. Off the court activities included leadership and life skills development sessions. The student-athletes also participated in elite competition featuring on-court drills, games and practices against the best players from the SIAC and SWAC.
“This was a great opportunity for us to network with NBA coaches, scouts and players,” said Richards, Jr. “We were able to show what we could do against players from the Division I level, and I was pleased with how I performed.”
Richards, Jr. built a name for himself as a premier scorer in the SIAC last season. The 6-foot5 junior recorded five games of 30 or more points, including a career-high 42 points in a win over Wilberforce University. Richards, Jr. finished the regular season ranked No. 7 in the SIAC in scoring with 16.9 points per game and became the first Marauder men’s basketball player to earn SIAC All-Conference recognition since CSU joined the conference in 2015.
“Sometimes players from HBCUs get looked over, so this camp was great for players like us to be seen and gain exposure from scouts from the NBA and overseas. All 50 guys got a chance to play and perform,” Richards, Jr. said. “I always new I was being watched by the scouts and so I kept focused on performing to the best of my ability. I thought the coaches in the camp did a great job of being organized and professional while giving us every opportunity to compete and showcase our talent.”
Blanks, who transferred to CSU for his senior season, battled through injuries to average 9.6 points and 2.6 assists per game. Richards, Jr. praised his teammate’s performance at the camp.
“I was able to watch Keilan play in a few games and thought he did a tremendous job of being a floor general,” Richards, Jr. said. “He was being a true point guard and impressed scouts as a facilitator of the offense.”
Story and photos provided by CSU Sports Information Director Nick Novy.