When Tom Crean called Chuck Howard on Wednesday to offer his son, Markus, a scholarship, the memories came flooding back.
Chuck Howard, now a strength coach at Grand Canyon University, was a running back for the Indiana football team from 1981-86. The Ben Davis grad played for Lee Corso, Sam Wyche and Bill Mallory. He now lives on the West Coast, but when Crean called on Wednesday, it was like he was right back in Bloomington.
"It was great to get the offer from Indiana," Chuck told AllHoosiers.com. "I have fond memories of Indiana as a football player. It has a tremendous basketball tradition and I know as a player, they take care of you. And knowing coach Crean is a man of faith made it even better."
Markus Howard, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound point guard, is one of the top scorers in the 2017 class. He averaged 32.4 points per game as a sophomore for Perry High School in Arizona last season and is currently the third-leading scorer in Nike's EYBL AAU league (20.2 ppg). Howard announced after the season that he would transfer to Findlay Prep in Nevada for his final two years of high school.
Howard originally committed to Arizona State, but reopened his recruitment in March. He owns offers from UNLV, Texas Tech, Memphis and Northern Arizona, and has also picked up new interest from Colorado, Baylor, Iowa, South Carolina, Texas A&M, USC, Vanderbilt and San Diego State, he said.
Markus said he hadn't heard from Indiana a lot before receiving the offer, but that didn't make Crean's phone call any less meaningful.
"I'm really excited about the offer," he said. "I've watched a lot of their games, just from my dad being a fan. But I follow them a good amount. I really like the way Yogi [Ferrell] and Troy [Williams] play."
Howard said he hasn't planned any visits for the summer yet, but he hopes to get to Bloomington before the end of July. The AAU circuit dies down in June, so many prospects try to use that month to take as many visits as they can.
Even though he hadn't spoken with Crean until Wednesday, Howard said the Indiana coach has already made quite an impact on him.
"He told me he's watch film on me, and we talked about their style of play and how I'd fit in," Howard said. "He said he looks forward to building a relationship with me in this recruiting process. ... I have a great feel for coach Crean and the program."
Added Chuck: "It's ultimately Markus' decision. The most important thing to him is developing a good relationship with the coach."
Even though his father played collegiate football, basketball runs in the Howard family. Markus' older brother, Jordan, was named the Southland Conference's Freshman of the Year and led the conference in 3-point shooting at Central Arkansas last season. He also had the highest GPA on the team (3.9). Markus' oldest brother, Desmond, is a skills trainer and works with both Markus and Jordan.
Howard, a four-star prospect, is the 45th-ranked player in the 2017 class, and the 10th-ranked point guard. He's one of the purest scorers in the nation, and he does it with great efficiency. In an 86-84 win against All Ohio Red last weekend, Howard had 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.
"I feel I'm really strong at creating my own shot, being a great leader and great teammate, and just playing hard," Howard said when asked to describe his game. "I wanna just work on defense and just being better conditioned."