To fully understand Matt Howard and his style of play, you have to understand his roots.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound high-energy forward from Connersville (Ind.) High School opened a lot of eyes on the AAU circuit with his non-stop motor, skills in the post and winning attitude that he brought to the fundamentally sound Spiece Central Stars.
For basketball purists, he is what basketball is about.
Howard, the eighth of 10 children, was raised on picking his spots.
"When you have four older brothers, they don't give you a lot of breaks," says Howard. "With my brothers, if you didn't play hard, you didn't have a chance.
"I played varsity my freshman year and the guys on the team didn't take it easy on me. I think that made me want to become a better player. I really learned a lot by playing with those guys at such an early age."
Howard said he is the tallest brother of the family. His oldest brother is six feet tall. Each brother after that is taller, ending with Howard at 6-feet-7.
"Guess I just got lucky," Howard said.
Interestingly enough, he is the only brother to play organized basketball, too. By the way he is playing, he'll be the only Howard brother to play college basketball, too. The soon to be four-star forward said he is happy with the way his spring went.
"I've played really good this spring but the schools that are recruiting me are still pretty much the same," Howard said. "I know I need to narrow it down to six or seven schools and then go from there. I want to do it for me and do it for them. I know they are recruiting other players and they have to figure out what direction they want to go and I'm the same way. I think it will make it easier."
Howard said Butler, Miami (Ohio), Xavier, Ball State, Valparaiso, Northern Illinois and Purdue were actively recruiting him before the spring evaluation period began. Every school but Purdue offered him, he said.
Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia and Cincinnati jumped into the mix in April, Howard said.
"I'd like to stay close to home. That is going to be a factor but it won't be the biggest one. The coaches are going to be big and the way the play. You have to go to a place where you know you are going to fit in with their style of play."
Howard said there are three schools that will certainly make the final cut when he trims his list down in a week.
"The ones that I know of for sure are Miami, Butler and Xavier," Howard said. "I have a good comfort level with all of those schools. I've been there numerous times and I like what they have to offer. Plus all three are close to home."
Howard will be back in action this weekend at the adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Ind.