John McLendon

John McLendon is carried off the court after winning his second NAIA championship.


Basketball from Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be a big part of the CBS Sports coverage this weekend. In a special three-hour time slot, the impact and contributions of HBCU basketball will on CBS Television Network on Men’s Final Four Sunday, April 4 (3:00 to 6:00 p.m.) as a part of the network’s commitment to HBCUs and recognizing African American stories. These three HBCU specials will be televised on CBS3.

Sunday’s programming starts with “Big House, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State” (3 p.m.). Next is the “Soul of the Game: The John McLendon Story” (4 p.m.) and finally the “HBCUs: Elevating The Game” (5 p.m.).

The day begins with the partnership between CBS Sports and HBCU All-Stars LLC, a Black-owned sports marketing and event company founded by Travis L. Williams, that was announced earlier this year. Starting in New Orleans in 2022, CBS Sports and HBCU All-Stars LLC will present the HBCU All-Star Game, a men’s college basketball contest, featuring the top HBCU players in the country.

“Big House, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State,” will feature the 1966-67 NCAA championship team. Monroe, a Bartram High product, averaged 41.5 points a game his senior year when the Rams coached by the legendary Clarence “Big House” Gaines won the national title. Monroe known as “The Pearl” attended Winston-Salem State during the civil rights era.

“The Soul of the Game: The John McLendon Story” should be an interesting piece on history and HBCU basketball. John McLendon was real trailblazer who use basketball as a vehicle to advance the Civil Rights efforts throughout his lifetime. McLendon was the head basketball coach at Tennessee A&I (Tennessee State). He led the Tigers to three NAIA championships with Dick Barnett, John Barnhill and Ben Warley. MClendon also coached Hall of Famer Sam Jones at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central).

He changed how the game of basketball is played. He was responsible for the fast paced game that we see today. McLendon was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both contributor and coach.

HBCUs: Elevating The Game features a number of former HBCU basketball standouts and personalities. Monroe hosts this one-hour special, guiding the audience through the history of HBCUs from the hardwood and beyond including their impact on music, fashion and future.

CBS Sports’ AJ Ross, a Howard University alumnus, lends her voice through the program while artist Yaw Geez contributes a moving and uplifting spoken word piece on the influence of HBCUs in America. There will be exclusive stories with hip-hop superstar and former Alabama State men’s basketball player 2 Chainz, former University City High and Cheyney University All-American Yolanda Laney and two-time NBA champion Lindsey Hunter from Jackson State. In addition, a look back at two of the greatest NCAA tournament upsets by HBCU schools, which include 1997 Coppin State over South Carolina and 2001 Hampton over Iowa State). That Coppin State team was led by legendary coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell. The key players were Antoine Brockington, Terquin Mott and Fred Warrick.

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