Men’s basketball taps Howard assistant coach, former Notre Dame standout to join staff

Media Credit: File Photo by Zach Brien | Staff Photographer

The men's basketball team is picking up a new assistant coach who played professionally in Greece and Hungary and with the Utah Jazz's D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede.

Men’s basketball picked Howard men’s basketball assistant coach Eric Atkins to fill a vacancy in the coaching staff, according to a release Thursday.

Atkins spent one and a half seasons at Howard, joining head coach Kenneth Blakeney’s staff in 2019. He previously served as the video coordinator and helped with day-to-day program oversight for his alma mater Notre Dame.

“I’m super excited about joining the GW program,” Atkins said in the release. “It’s an honor to be at a school with such a rich basketball tradition, and I’m looking forward to connecting and assisting our staff and student-athletes as we become a top program in the Atlantic 10.”

With the Bison, he assisted in developing some of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s top players, including top-20 five-star recruit freshman forward Makur Maker.

Atkins had a successful career as a point guard for the Fighting Irish, recording more than 1,000 points and 500 assists. He played under former Colonial and current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey and appeared in 133 games, tying him for second in all-time program history.

After graduating in 2014, Atkins played professionally in Greece and Hungary. In 2015, he was briefly acquired by the Utah Jazz before spending time with the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz’s D-League affiliate.

For the 2015-16 season, he joined the Erie Bayhawks, the then-D-League affiliate for the Orlando Magic. In 24 games, Atkins averaged 6.5 points and three assists.

Head coach Jamion Christian said he’s “excited” for Atkins to help develop GW’s talent at the guard position for this season and seasons to come.

“We are always trying to find ways to improve our program, and the best way to do that is with humble and hungry people,” he said in the release. “Eric is exactly that.”

Christian added that Atkins first came across his radar during his high school career. Atkins played for Mount Saint Joseph’s High School in Baltimore. During his prep career, he was named the Baltimore Catholic League MVP twice.

“I had the opportunity to watch Eric when he was playing early in high school, and I was always so impressed with his demeanor and how he consistently found a way to lead his teams into the winning category,” Christian said.

Atkins is the third member of Christian’s staff to join the team for the 2020-21 season. Director of operations Lauren Shear and director of scouting and analytics Seth Jackson joined the team prior to the start of the season.

The additions come after former director of operations Austin Kelly, director of scouting and analytics AJ Register and assistant coach Nima Omidvar departed from the program prior to the season opener.

The Colonials (3-9, 2-3 A-10) are currently paused since Christian tested positive for COVID-19 last week. They postponed games against Dayton and Rhode Island and are currently set to resume activities Jan. 27 against George Mason, but no updates have been provided about when the team will end its quarantine.

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