Former ASU commit Howard visits new staff

Local star product and one-time Arizona State commit Markus Howard is still strongly considering the Sun Devils, even as he'll play out of state as a high school junior this season.

After spending his first two years of high school burning up the nets at gyms across the Phoenix-area, Markus Howard decided he needed a greater challenge.

The former star guard at Perry High School in Gilbert, who had a state-best 32.4 point average as a sophomore, will play for national powerhouse Findlay Prep in Las Vegas as a junior this season.

But that doesn't mean he's necessarily done with playing in Arizona.

A 6-foot point guard ranked No. 28 in the national 2017 class, Howard considers Arizona State and Arizona among his leaders as he continues to search for the right college fit.

Howard was committed to the Sun Devils early in the recruiting process, but re-opened his recruitment several weeks before ASU's coaching change.

Tuesday, Howard visited ASU unofficially and spent much of the day with new coach Bobby Hurley and the rest of the program's coaching staff.

They've definitely still been recruiting me hard, I would say one of the schools recruiting me the hardest," Howard said of the Sun Devils. "It's always been that way. It's good to know they're always rooting for me and really want me to be a part of the program.

"Coach Hurley tells me he thinks I could do great things for the program and be a big part of it. I really like him. We have a lot in common. I like the way he thinks about things on the court and style of play, how he gives point guards freedom."

Howard and Hurley have a shared experience. Hurley wasn't a big guard, didn't play above the rim. Neither does Howard. But like Hurley, Howard is among the best guards in the country at his age. Earlier this summer, Howard was the second-leading scorer for USA Basketball 16u in the FIBA Americas in Argentina. Hurley also has a gold medal to his name, playing for the national team in 1991 in the Summer Universiade.

All of this isn't lost on Howard.

"Just knowing his background and credentials and all that, he really could help me elevate my game to a maximum degree," Howard said. "Just knowing what he's done on that level is something I really think about.

"I would say they're still at the top of my list as well as a couple schools that are pushing really hard but they're right up there as well."

After also visiting Arizona Wednesday, Howard has now recently traveled to of the schools in person that comprise his currently loose Top-5, which consists of ASU, Arizona, Baylor, Indiana and Marquette.

"It's not really firm right now, it's just what I'm playing with right now, five schools that are up there," Howard said. "I'm going to probably still take some time but (a decision will) probably be a lot sooner than later. Mid season to the end of the season this year is when I think I'll probably decide. I want to just have a great season, hopefully win a national championship, just help my team however I can."

This weekend, Howard heads back to Findlay, feeling as though he's risen to the challenges of a grueling summer that not only included USA Basketball, but also playing for one of the top AAU programs in the West, Las Vegas Prospects.

"I feel like my game has really gotten a lot better," he said. "I've been very consistent this whole spring and summer. It transferred over to USA. I came off the bench but was still second in scoring, so I did what I was supposed to do I was very happy with it and want to continue to be consistent like that.

"Just as far as going to Findlay, I want to be able to go into college and play right away with the top level competition when I get there. In Arizona I wasn't really getting that. I decided to try to move on and better myself and get more prepared for college. I felt like I had to do what I thought was best for my future."

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