Howard Is A Physical Specimen
It's early afternoon on Friday in NC State's Carmichael Gym. The Wolfpack is conducting its team camp and out of the corner of my eye I spot the reason I came to the gym: Dwight Howard.
The 6-10, 225 pounder from Southwest Atlanta Christian is a specimen. He'll turn 17 in December but his body looks much stronger than that. With shoulders as wide as his, he'd better get used to paying for two seats on an airplane. When the rising junior stretches out his condor-like wingspan, he looks like he can touch both blocks if he stands under the basket.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out Howard is a big time prospect. He runs the floor with speed and athleticism. He looks to be a big time shot blocker and if he plays aggressively, not too many guys will be able to rebound with him.
"He sees the floor like a point guard," high school coach Courtney Brooks says. "He can guard and defend on the wing." Guarding and defending on the wing are all well and good, but this young man is going to earn his money in the paint. Once he becomes a better finisher and works on his post up game, look out.
Already many of the country's top basketball programs have noticed. So, who is on him? "You name," Brooks said. "Pick a school." The coach says the entire ACC save Florida State has shown interest. Don't worry FSU fans, SW Christian will be at team camp next week in Tallahassee and you can bet Leonard Hamilton won't let Howard off campus without giving him a tour.
Brooks said schools showing the most interest include Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Georgia and Vanderbilt. The young man sports a 3.0 GPA.
Last year, Howard averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks and 3.5 assists. In our brief viewing of him at team camp, he certainly looks like a big who will reward a cutter or two.
Howard will attend adidas ABCD Camp and will run with the Atlanta Celtics team this summer. He's 6-10 right now with a size 20 shoe. In basketball speak, that means there's a good chance this kid winds up being seven feet and that's good news in any language.
CAMP NOTES: One of the better guards at the Pack team camp reportedly is Kyle Cruise of Nashville (TN) Bearden. We didn't speak with Cruise but hear Western Carolina and Wofford are mentioned. … Southern Durham big man Anthony King brought his high school team to camp this week. … Rising junior LaMarcus Aldridge rolled through the Triangle like a Hurricanes (that's a hockey reference for you Red Wings fans) last week. A lot was made of his unofficial visits to North Carolina and Duke. However, somehow lost in the shuffle was a journey down I-40 that he made to NC State. …