FAMU men host Albany State, seek first win

Photo courtesy: FAMU athletics

After a hard-fought loss to Oregon in last week’s home opener, the FAMU men’s basketball team is preparing to defend its home court at 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Albany State.

The Rattlers head into the game 0-4 after battling it out and losing to four Power 5 conference schools. This will be Albany State’s first game of the season.

Looking to improve their record and secure their first win should be attainable for the Rattlers.

FAMU’s freshman star point guard K’Jei Parker leads the team in scoring and assists with an average of 13 points and 3 assists per game. Senior forward Keith Lamar, who is also a major contributing factor, falls right behind Parker and averages 12 points and 5 rebounds a game.

FAMU student and former Amateur Athletic Union basketball player Jeziah Cooper said that he has high hopes for the Rattlers this season. “Looking at our schedule and roster this year I believe that we can surpass our record of 7-22 from last year. We only need five more wins to have a winning season, and I believe that we can do this by squeezing in and winning some hard fought games. Albany State would be a great start,” he said.

The Rattlers have had losing records every season under head coach Robert McCullum, who was named the men’s head basketball coach in May 2017. McCullum was named MEAC coach of the year after the 2020-2021 season. Despite having these records, McCullum is hopeful to improve the program.

“I could not be more excited about this class that we’ve been able to assemble, and much of the credit goes to coach Willie Powers, coach Issac Brown, and the assistant coach Craig Brown who have all helped identify players that would be a great fit, players that we need to help us compete for a SWAC championship,” McCollum said.

Another factor that should not be overlooked is LeBron James’ partnership with FAMU via Nike. James signed a six-year deal beginning July 1, 2021. It includes providing gear for all of the athletic programs and the Marching 100.

Nike also supports FAMU as a whole, and provides help with opportunities for students through internships, networking opportunities, and student-athlete development programs.

FAMU student and former collegiate athlete Omari Campbell said that FAMU’s partnership with the NBA superstar is an amazing jump. “I grew up watching LeBron, and to see him embrace our school with so much positivity and hope makes the whole school want to support. I will definitely be attending most of our games and help cheer our team on,” he said.