Howard-Oregon State Basketball Game Grabs Spotlight

By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Howard University men's basketball team is preparing for a season opener unlike any in the history of the program.

Inside Burr Gymnasium on Friday night, a few thousand spectators will be less interested in watching the Howard-Oregon State game than they will be in watching who else might be watching the game, namely President-elect Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama, whose brother is first-year Beavers coach Craig Robinson.

Since the schedule was released in late summer, Howard students have been abuzz over whether the Obamas would be in attendance, and Howard Athletic Director Dwight Datcher said yesterday there remains a possibility that either or both Obamas could make their way to the 2,700-seat gymnasium. He expects to know by tomorrow.

"If they are in Washington, I don't know why they wouldn't come to the game," Howard Coach Gil Jackson said. "He likes basketball, and he and Craig are boys. . . . My sister is coming to the game."

Depending upon who is in the gym, a ticket to watch two teams that won a combined 12 games last season could suddenly be coveted. A school official said tickets are still available ($15 and $20) but declined to say how many remained.

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