Norman North High School senior Fatima Black will play
basketball for the Morgan State Bears.
By DANA HERNANDEZ
NORMAN, Okla. — Shoshone-Bannock tribal member, Fatima Black has made the announcement to dedicate herself as a Lady Bear at Morgan State University, which is a Division 1 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Black is a senior at Norman North High School where she plays a forward for the basketball team. She was named Most Improved Player for 2019-2020. She was actively involved in the Norman North girls’ basketball, Native American Club and African American Club.
She currently resides in Norman Oklahoma, but was born and raised in Oklahoma City. Her parents are Stacy Black and Jean-Nicole Black. Her grandparents are Theodore “Teeter” Jackson and Debra “Trina” Martin. Her great grandmothers are Roserine Martin and the late Loretta “Gingie” Grant. She is also tribally affiliated with Southern Cheyenne and the Kaw Nation.
Black plans to earn a major in biology and a minor in education. She said biology can lead her to a variety of opportunities in the fields of dental, medical, and nursing. She also said pursuing a basketball scholarship has been a long and serious business for her. Her career goal is to become a dentist.
Black received a lot of Division 1 interest after playing for Nike Proskills EYBL in Dallas, Texas. She said last year, she was able to make the team and ended up traveling around the country sponsored by Nike. “I had the pleasure of visiting a few major D1 colleges. But this year I stayed close to home and played with OK Swish 17U, a team that has some of the best girl basketball players in Oklahoma. Some of my teammates could be called best, period. I am very blessed to have played amongst such high profile high school players in Texas and Oklahoma,” said Black.
Because of COVID-19, Black said she knew it would complicate the ability to secure college offers because the NCAA canceled all their normal recruiting. She had to play in Zoom events, where the games were available online for college coaches to view. “It was said that the coaches had to pay high amounts to view, which didn’t help in my case,” says Black.
Luckily, with the help of Twitter she was able to have her high school highlight her video and game footages. Black said Twitter “had a big following and I was able to stay relevant to college coaches.”
Since then, Black received some offers over the summer. She said her sister Kaya Black who is attending a HBCU in New Orleans made a Twitter post asking her network of HBCU students to help her sister be recruited to a HBCU. “Many coaches from all over the country, many different divisions reached out to me. There was a lot of love shown,” said Black.
Afterwards, the coaches from Morgan State University, coach Graham and coach Davis reached out to Black and broadcasted a facetime call with her and her family where they walked them through campus and told them how historical, unique, and special the university was. Black said she felt like this was a tremendous opportunity and was exactly what her family had in mind. She said, “I feel like I am joining a family and I will be safe, secure, and happy. I look forward to working my absolute hardest on the court and in the classroom.”
Black said she deeply cares about her Native people, her sister and her are known in Norman for their community involvement. They are active in Oklahoma City in social justice, they attend protests and have attended community planning. “I care about the world around me. I thank the creator, my family and Indian Country. I am thankful to all my trainers, coaches and teammates. Shout out to HBCU everywhere for showing a Native American love,” says Black.
Fatima’s mom Jean Nicole said she’s been working out during the pandemic and lost weight referring to her as “walking muscle.” She also makes some great frybread. “Honestly I didn’t expect less,” speaking about Fatima playing D1 basketball, because of the caliber of players she plays with and against. She’s struggled because she doesn’t always let loose at the Native games but believes Fatima will be ready for anything after this school season. “She’s working with trainers and her high school coach helps as well,” Jean Nicole continued. “She’a way bigger and faster than a lot of people her size, it helps.”
From left, Kennion Martin, Russell Bache and Rueben Butler.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
MALAD — The Idaho Bombers from Bannock County lost their game against the Magic Valley Bandits 0 to 10 on Friday, July 24 in the Malad All-Star Baseball Tournament.
The team had two games on Thursday and competed strong with that team from Salt Lake City, according to their coach, Albert Varla. He said they were surprised with the pitching, but they held their own with hitting and fielding.
“They came along a little too late to get some points on the board,” he said.
Coach Varla said he encourages his players to get to know each other well and to begin to build bonds because many of them will move on to play in high school with or against one another.
“This is where you make friends and friendships that last a long time,” he said.
Native players on the team include Rueben Butler, who plays pitcher, third base and first base; Russell Bache, who plays catcher and outfield; and Kennion Martin, who plays short stop.
Coach Varla said he picked up the players through Fort Hall Recreation’s Eddie Kniffin and said the boys are a good addition to the team.
Summer Recreation youth swimming at the Portneuf Wellness Center in Pocatello.
Fort Hall District Summer Recreation is having a bicycle program Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Recreation is still taking bikes.
Please keep your children home if they are sick. Activity time is 1 to 3 p.m. Please do not send your child to Timbee Hall before the designated time.
Timbee Hall weight room
Weight room is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Have to wear masks and sanitizing spray and wipes are available.
Alexandria Alvarez reads to recreation youth.
Recreation girls swim at Indian Springs.
A boy swims at Indian Springs.