Over the years, Baltimore City has produced numerous CIAA basketball legends.
City College boys’ basketball coach Omarr Smith, former Harlem Globetrotter and community leader Choo Smith and former Harlem Wizards star Arthur Lewis are products of Baltimore. They went on to leave a legacy as team players for the Bowie State men’s basketball program.
Stanley Tucker, one of Baltimore’s influential Black business leaders, played basketball for Morgan State in the late 1960s, back when the school was a CIAA member. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, led Winston-Salem State to a Division II national title in 1967. He spent part of his professional career with the Baltimore Bullets.
Last but certainly not least, City College High School Athletic Director Rolynda Contee was a standout on Virginia State University’s women’s basketball team.
This year’s tournament will feature a total of 13 participants — one coach and 12 players — with ties to Baltimore City. Bowie State University (BSU), the tournament’s host program, leads the way with eight participants. As a highly anticipated homecoming approaches for those 13 individuals, they hope to post a strong showing in front of family, friends, old teammates and coaches in their return to Charm City.
Here they are:
Coach Shadae Swan (BSU): Swan competed for the St. Frances Academy girl’s basketball team before competing for Goucher College. She was named the CIAA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year in 2019. Swan, who officially took over as head of the program in 2016, aims to lead her team to a conference title in her hometown in a few weeks.
Kaitlyn Weaver-Adams (BSU): A graduate of St. Frances Academy, the 6-foot-1 freshman has played limited minutes for the Bulldogs this season. She has also competed for the highly regarded Team Thrill youth basketball organization.
Tsion Smith (BSU): Also a freshman, Smith had a decorated career at Mt. Carmel High School where she earned numerous honors. Her minutes have been limited as well.
Khalia Turner (BSU): The 5-foot-7 guard competed alongside Adams at St. Frances Academy. Turner, a freshman guard, has already made significant contributions this season for BSU. She scored a season-high 12 points against California (Pa.) on November 18, 2022.
Kaziah Akinniyi (Lincoln): Akinniyi, a former Poly standout, is one of Lincoln’s newcomers. The 5-foot-9 freshman hopes to contribute to a second straight conference title run with the Lions.
Mackenzie Pollard (Shaw): The Bears rely heavily on Pollard for her scoring and playmaking ability. Pollard, a senior, has been one of the key contributors for the Bears since joining the program in 2021 and is tallying 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this year. She was a standout at Western before beginning her collegiate basketball career at St. Francis University.
Caleb Johnson (BSU): The 6-foot-2 sophomore is having a fairly productive season for the Bulldogs. Most recently, he recorded a team-high 16 points and four rebounds to help his team clinch a close 62-59 win over Shaw on Feb. 4. Johnson played for Archbishop Curley in high school.
Elijah Rantin (BSU): Standing at 6-foot-10, the sophomore will be among the tallest competitors in the conference tournament. The Mervo (Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School) graduate scored a season-high 23 points against the University of D.C. earlier this season.
Tyler Buckhanon (BSU): The first-year player left home to play high school in Kentucky (Bath County) where he earned several honors. The 6-foot-9 freshman started three games this season.
Detwan Montague (BSU): The 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman is averaging about two points and two boards per contest. He plays around eight minutes per game and may see his role increased farther along the season.
Kaleb Glasper (Saint Augustine’s): Glasper played high school basketball in Howard County and has shown glimpses of promise over the course of his freshman campaign with the Falcons.
Kyshon Tate (Saint Augustine’s): The 6-foot-8 senior will soon return for his second year back home for the CIAA Tournament. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute, Tate played at Hagerstown Community College before heading to St. Augustine’s. His role has increased slightly since last season which means he may see a lot of time on the floor at CFG Arena.
Tyler Foster (Fayetteville State): Foster, a junior transfer guard, is averaging 13.8 points for the Broncos. He played his rookie season with East Carolina University in 2018-19 before transferring to Youngstown State for the 2019-20 season.
The 2023 CIAA Basketball Tournament tips off on the morning of Feb. 21 at CFG Arena in downtown Baltimore. The conference has not yet released the tournament brackets. BT