BASN Black College Focus: HBCU News And Notes

By Tony McClean
Updated: November 4, 2004

During any given week, there are several happenings in the black college sports scene that get lost in the shuffle. Here’s a brief synopsis on some events that may have slipped under the radar.


Justin Durant

Hampton University linebacker Justin Durant has been added to the The Sports Network’s official “Buchanan Watch” list. The 6-2, 235-pound sophomore from Sheepshead High School in Florence, South Carolina is one of 16 players listed as candidates for the Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the top defensive player in Division I-AA.

After making the transition from outside to inside linebacker, Durant hasn’t missed a beat in leading the defensive unit of the Pirates (7-1, 4-1 MEAC). He leads the Pirates with 82 tackles on the year, 37 of which were solo stops, and he also has 10 ½ tackles for loss. Averaging better than 10 tackles per game, including a career-high 15 versus Western Illinois, Durant is tied for the team lead with three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He has also recorded two quarterback sacks and seven pass breakups for a Pirate defense that ranks second in the country in turnovers forced with 28.

The official “Buchanan Watch” list will undergo one additional revision prior to the end of the season and, once the final ballots are in, the top three finalists will be invited to attend the presentation in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


Shaw senior linebacker Chris Peavy is one of 26 finalists for 2004 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. He is the only player from the CIAA that is a finalist.
Peavy has been the anchor of the Bear defense which is ranked first in the nation. He has recorded 105 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, six sacks and four fumble recoveries so far on the season. He was named and Don Hansen’s National Player of the Week after recording a carrer high 18 tackles in the 34-28 victory over Kentucky State.
Shaw, the Eastern Division Champions, are 8-2 and will take on Fayetteville State in the CIAA Championship on November 6 in Durham.

The list of candidates was announced by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee Voting Coordinator Dee Corum. The list includes six players each from the Southeast and Northeast regions and seven from the Northeast and Southwest regions.

Players are nominated and voted on by the sports information directors at the 150 NCAA Division II football-playing institutions. The 26 initial candidates will be placed on regional ballots and the top two players from each of the four NCAA regions will advance to the national ballot when regional voting concludes on November 15.

The winner of the 2004 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced at the 19th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on Friday, December 10 at the Florence Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. This year’s Hill Trophy Banquet will also include the sixth induction into the Division II Football Hall of Fame.


Mississippi Valley State forward Sheena Cussen captured several top honors in voting for the 2004 All-SWAC Soccer team. The All-SWAC team was chosen by a vote of the conference’s soccer coaches and sports information directors.

Cussen, a 5-10 sophomore from Ontario, Canada was chosen the league’s Most Valuable Player and tied for Offensive Player of the Year honors with Jackson State’s Aisha Horne. Cussen and Horne, a 5-4 sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi finished the SWAC regular season tied for second in Goals Scored (16).

Rounding out the 2004 Special Honors categories, Grambling State’s Natasha Nzeakor, a freshman midfielder/defender from Ontario, Canada, was tabbed Defensive Player of the Year. Another Mississippi Valley State player, Jessica Hunter, a forward from Fountain Michigan, was named Freshman of the Year.

On the 2004 All-SWAC team(s) Mississippi Valley State had eight players named (5 first team), followed by Grambling State with six players (5 first team). Jackson State players earned four sports (3 first team) followed by Prairie View A&M with three (1), Alabama A&M two (1). Arkansas-Pine Bluff players earned three second team selections and Texas Southern had one second team selection.

Additionally, Grambling State had a pair of sisters, Candice (a sophomore) and Natasha (a freshman) Nzeakor, named to the first team. The sisters finished the year tied for game-winning goals (4) even though Natasha is a midfielder/defender. Candice, the elder, lead the conference in Goals Scored (19) and Points (44).