Howard University, in a move that may substantially upgrade its basketball program, has scheduled games against traditionally strong San Francisco and Bradley.
Bradley, last season's NIT champion, will play at Howard's 2,700-seat Burr Gymnasium on Dec. 1. San Francisco, second only to UCLA in basketball tradition on the West Coast, will play at Howard in December 1984.
Howard and San Francisco could meet this year as well: Howard will play Dec. 17 and 18 in the Golden Gate Classic, in which San Francisco is the host team. Pepperdine and San Diego State also are in the field. Pairings for that tournament have not yet been released. Howard's seven-day western swing will continue with a game at San Diego State. Howard also is committed to the 1983 Golden Gate Classic.
"Our schedule now, especially the nonconference (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) part, is tougher than those of a lot of big-name teams," said Coach A.B. Williamson.
Williamson is frustrated by being unable to schedule games against some of the Division I schools in the Washington area.
"A lot of schools feel their reputations could be ruined by playing--and perhaps losing to--a predominantly black school," Williamson said. "So it's hard to schedule. I would still like to play the local schools, but I don't know what the reason is that they won't play us.
"The schools we have scheduled are teams that have shown they will reciprocate . . . return a favor and play us in Washington. This program has passed the stage of being a pawn. We're trying to get ahead."
Williamson also announced the signing of six recruits, including junior college all-America David Wynn, a 6-foot-6 foward from Camden (N.J.) Community College. Last year, Wynn averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds and was the only player on the East Coast to be selected for Junior College all-America.
The other Howard signees are Robert Jones, a 6-7, 240-pound forward from La Salle Academy in New York; Derek Carraciolo, 6-8 forward who spent last year in the Military Air Command; Charles Johnson, a 6-2 point guard from Gloucester Community College, and Mike Gibson, a 6-4 guard from Queens, N.Y.
Said Williamson, "We're losing four starters plus, and I was starting to think it would be impossible to replace all of that."
Those starters--James Ratiff, Rodney Wright, Lawrence Norfleet and James Terry--led Howard to the NCAA tournament in 1981 and within one victory of another appearance last season.
Now, Williamson is faced with the task of shaping a new team by the time Howard plays those early season games against Bradley and either San Francisco or Pepperdine.