VUU makes Classic marks

Fred Jeter | 11/16/2023, 6 p.m.
Virginia Union University is making plans for yet another Classic.

Virginia Union University is making plans for yet another Classic.

Coach Jay Butler’s basketball Panthers have been selected to play in the third NBA-HBCU Classic Feb. 17 in Indianapolis as part of NBA All-Star Weekend festivities.

VUU will take on a familiar foe, CIAA rival Winston-Salem State, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The game will be simulcast on TNT, ESPN2 and NBA TV.

Both schools’ résumés list NCAA Division II titles. Winston-Salem won the crown in 1967 with Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines and star guard Earl Monroe.

VUU won Division II championships in 1980, 1992 and 2005 under Coach Dave Robbins.

VUU and Winston-Salem have individual all-star alumni history. Virginia Union’s Ben Wallace was an All-Star four times with Detroit, and Charles Oakley was a 1994 All-Star with the New York Knicks.

The Rams’ Monroe was a four-time All-Star between 1969 and 1977 with Baltimore and the Knicks.

The Panthers are getting used to national exposure.

They will travel to Uncasville, Conn., Nov. 18 and 19 to play in the Chris Paul HBCU Classic. The Panthers will face Cheyney State, Pa., Nov. 18 and Tuskegee, Ala., Nov. 19.

The football Panthers know Classics, too.

Coach Alvin Parker’s squad began this season against Morehouse in the NFL HBCU Hall of Fame Classic in Canton, Ohio.

So now in the same school year, VUU will leave its mark on both NFL and NBA Classics.