With four players in the Rivals.com top 25 rankings for the class of 2009 in Georgia, it is easy to see why the elite programs continue to raid the Peach State. Richard Howell is one of the reasons why they keep coming.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville was one of the top players at the loaded Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase.
With each game he gained momentum and put on a show on Sunday, showing an ability to score inside and out. Howell was a pain for opponents down low as a rebounder and he stepped out and showed off a confident and efficient perimeter game on offense. Howell said the best is still to come.
"I'm in the weight room working hard and trying to get stronger," Howell said. "I am constantly working on my game. I look at it as just moving from level to level. I did good enough last year to get noticed. Now I am working on where I need to get to next."
Howell averaged 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds a game as a freshman. This season, he is anticipating an even bigger role for his team that returns three starters.
Cut from the same mold of fellow Georgian Howard Thompkins, a five-star forward from the class of 2008, Howell is starting to see his recruitment take on the look of an elite player.
Tom Izzo is the only head coach to find his way out to Central Gwinnett this fall to see the young five-star prospect. The Spartans landed Chris Allen, a key member of their 2007 recruiting class, just up the road from where Howell lives. The Spartans have made a big impression early on.
"They are the only school that has really been out to see me and give me a lot of looks this school year," Howell said. "They are the only ones that have sent a head coach to see me."
There is a possibility that he makes the trip to MSU for the Spartans big game against Ohio State on the gridiron this weekend.
Assistants from Georgia Tech and Georgia have been in to see him play this season as well. Howell has been to a couple of Georgia football games this season as well. The youngster is in no rush to make a decision either.
"I'm keeping my options open," he said. "I'm seeing who is interested and who comes out to see me."
There is one school that he hopes he sees in the stands this season.
"I'd love to hear from Duke," Howell said. "I met Coach K when we were up there for the Tournament of Champions. That was cool. I like that school the most."
The way things are going, the Blue Devils may just make it down to Georgia. So many others will this season.