For Paul VI Combo Guard Franklin Howard, It’s Decision Time
Decision time is just around the corner for standout combo guard Franklin Howard who plays his ball at Paul VI in the WCAC. But many factors surrounding this decision are unique.
First off, Frank hasn’t played basketball in a year due to a torn ACL he suffered last summer in an AAU game, and he’s got many high-major suitors hot on his trail trying to claim his rights in the 2015 recruiting class. Howard has narrowed his list down to six teams; Syracuse, Ohio St., Virginia, N.C. State, Georgetown, and Maryland. In addition to those six teams, his own high school and AAU team, hadn’t seen him play in a year; until a couple days ago. They’ve seen him train and put in the incredible effort and countless hours in rehab, which is one reason why so many schools sill hold him in such high standing. That, in addition to his skill, size, and ability. Paul VI assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach Brandon Broadnax has overseen Howard’s rehabilitation and has worked with Howard for countless days and hours strengthening his core and his injured knee. “He is way ahead of schedule. He is relentless in the gym. He is days away from being back, full contact, ready to go. It’s been a long hard road. It’s great that he gets to make his decision and then play, so he’s not out there overdoing it, trying to prove things to people.”
But there is another interesting factor that plays into this. Howard is being projected to play the point guard at the next level. Not the combo guard, but the lead guard. Perhaps some schools have more of an idea then others as it pertains to how much they’d like to see him on the ball to start the season in their uniform in 2015. And while many think it will be a perfect marriage, some may have their reservations. He certainly has the court vision, the play making ability and the size. And depending on where he goes, chasing around experienced, quick, 6’1″ guys who have been playing the position their whole life may seem like there will be a lot of learning on the job. Or, he may have a huge advantage if he goes to a school who plays a zone and he and his fellow back court mates swallow up and spit out those 6’o” point guards who try to penetrate that zone. It would seem advantageous to Howard that if he does end up playing the 1, that a zone defense such as Syracuse could protect him a bit from using up a lot of energy chasing around little guys.
While we are on the topic of Syracuse and the topic of Frank moving over to the 1, does the fact that the Cuse has been churning ones into the league at an alarming rate lately play in to Howards decision? Johnny Flynn, Michael Carter Williams, Tyler Ennis, Franklin Howard??
Or does a school like Ohio St, appeal to Howard. Aaron Craft’s illustrious career is now over and Ohio St only had six guards on their roster this past season. Baltimore native Kam Williams is waiting in the wings, probably at the 2 guard after he redshirted this past season. Of the six guards who played at Ohio St. this past year two of them graduated, one redshirted, and one walk-on played a total of two minutes. Ohio St. does have the #1 ranked 2-guard in the country coming in next year, D’Angelo Russell from Montverde. And like Howard, Russell is a playmaker who could be interchangeable in either back court spot. They also have a four star point guard committed in 2015, A.J. Harris of Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio. Shannon Scott will be back next year, but will be departed for Howard’s freshman year, and Findlay Prep alum Amedeo Della Valle will be in his senior season when Howard begins college.
Syracuse has a point guard who is signed to come in 2014, Kaleb Joseph (Cushing Academy, Nashua, NH), and a 2-guard committed in 2015, Malachi Richardson of Trenton Catholic. Trevor Cooney is back for two years at the 2, Michael Gbinije who plays the 2 and the 3 ( who is a Team Takeover product like Howard) is also back for two years. They will both be in their senior years when Howard steps on campus, whatever campus that may be. Ron Patterson who also played the 2, is back after his freshman campaign, but he couldn’t crack the rotation this year, and it’s unclear whether he will be an impact player for the Orange in the future. They definitely need a point and could use some help in the back court.
All the locals are of course pulling on him to become a Hoya or Terp, but if you read between the lines and do your homework it just doesn’t seem like they are the front runners. But you never know. You can’t ever underestimate the luxury of proximity to home. And Howard’s high school and AAU teammate Marcus Derrickson, another member of the class of 2015 is committed to the Hoyas.
UVA and N.C. State are also in the mix, as they have made Howard’s final 6.
What does Howard have to say about all of this? He has actually enjoyed the whole recruiting game. While a lot of players like to get it over with and can find it tiresome Howard says “I look at it like it’s a reward for all the hard word i’ve put in. I haven’t minded it.” When asked if their is a pro or college player he models his game after without hesitation “Penny Hardaway.” He’s looking forward to more then basketball when he arrives on whatever campus he selects. “Academics and campus life are definitely important aspects that go into my decision.” And when asked about that million dollar question, what position he thinks he will be playing at the next level. He says he thinks he’ll play the one. But he just wants to play.
Wherever Howard lands, someone will land a player who can do a lot of things very, very well. He can play and defend a few positions. His offensive arsenal is dynamite. And he’s a hard worker. Lastly, he has played on the big stage on the high school level. Paul VI plays in what is arguable the best HS conference in the country and Paul VI plays an outrageous out of conference schedule. How many kids can say they missed their entire junior year due to injury, but still have this many offers and are making their decision prior to the AAU season starting after their junior year. I can name one.