Thursday January 21st, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Paging all high-major coaches needing an offensive boost: Markus Howard is getting closer to making a decision. He told SI.com at the Hoophall Classic that he has four visits planned for February and March: MarquetteIndianaBaylor and Central Arkansas. Howard already has taken an official visit to Arizona State—the school from which he decommitted last March, before Bobby Hurley was hired to replace Herb Sendek.

Howard’s father, Chuck, played running back for the Hoosiers in the 1980s, and his brother, Jordan, is a sophomore guard for Central Arkansas. 

Howard is currently listed as a four-star prospect in the class of 2017, but he indicated on Sunday that there’s a possibility he could jump to the class of 2016, meaning he would join a college program for next season. Howard said that he’s prepared academically to make the move if he chooses to do so. “It’s up in the air,” Howard told SI.com of the possibility of reclassifying. “I haven’t really decided anything.” Howard also said he plans to choose a school “probably around April.”

Howard transferred to Findlay Prep in advance of this season from Perry (Ariz.) High School after leading the state in scoring. After I saw him play with his grassroots team, the Las Vegas Prospects, at the Peach Jam last summer, I wrote: “[Howard] can get buckets near the rim, beyond the three-point arc and pretty much everywhere in between. He’s adept at keeping defenders off balance with clever dribbles, charging into the lane and pulling up over defenders for jump shots.”

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In two games at the Hoophall Classic, Howard actualized that description while leading Findlay Prep to two wins. After dropping 25 points in a 14-point victory over Athlete Institute on Saturday, Howard connected on all nine of his field goal attempts, including 6-for-6 from three-point range, to score 26 points in a 91–67 decision against St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep on Sunday. “Today was just a day I was feeling it,” said Howard, who averaged 20.2 points per game in the EYBL last year.

The 5'11", 185-pound Howard definitely could play off the ball, but he said college coaches view him mostly as a point guard. “They really think of me as a combo, but primarily a point,” Howard said. Whatever position he plays, Howard could infuse some dynamism into a team lacking offensive firepower. “Probably [his] best value is his ability to shoot from deep, and you’re going to turn him loose,” Daniels said.

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