Bloomington, Ind. – Pe'Shon Howard had a chance to show IU's best what he had to offer.
The Class of 2010 point guard from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward's H.S. was in Bloomington late last month for the Hoosiers' Elite Camp, marking the second straight year he's participated in the event. During his IU stop he not only showed off his skills for the IU coaching staff, but tested himself against some of the top players in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 classes as well as current Hoosiers.
At the close of the Elite Camp, Howard said the staff selects a handful of the top camp performers to team up and play against members of the current IU team. Howard was selected to participate in the game for a second straight season, and this year was joined by Devin Ebanks, K.C. Ross-Miller and Ray McCallum, among others, in the all-star game of sorts.
A year ago Howard went up against the likes of D.J. White and A.J. Ratliff, and this year enjoyed the opportunity to line up opposite future Hoosiers Eric Gordon and Jordan Crawford. Easily one of the youngest players on the floor for the contest, Howard said intimidation was a strategy that some of the IU players used against him a year ago, but not so much in his second go-around.
"Last year it got real competitive, and I think they tried to intimidate me a little bit," Howard said. "But with me being such a competitor, it gave them a lot more respect for me."
IU Coach Kelvin Sampson is among those who respects Howard's game a great deal. That's why IU offered the 6-2, 180-pounder a scholarship after last year's Elite Camp, before he'd even played a high school basketball game. While he was only a 14-year-old, Sampson already saw a great deal to like about his game.
"Most of the coaches say that my game is really mature, that a lot of people come to these camps and try to force it and shoot a lot," Howard said. "I try to let the game come to me, do other things and make sure my team wins, not try to just make myself look good, make my team look good. Get rebounds, assists, run the team well.
"I know the Indiana coaches say I'm like a coach's dream because I run the team well, I get assists, get others involved, I'm not trying to just make myself look good. Coach Sampson said he was really impressed with how I handled myself with the college players and didn't back down."
In making others around him look good, Howard has wound up shining the spotlight on himself as well. He's already considered one of the top point guards in the 2010 class, and has been offered by both the Hoosiers and Ohio State.
"I had a lot of interest from Ohio State, and they had mentioned that they would like to try to offer me," Howard said. "I think the pressure from Indiana (offering) made them offer."
While Howard doesn't have any intentions of committing anywhere soon, he does think big things are ahead for both of the Big Ten programs that have offered him, and intends to give both very serious looks.
"I like Indiana's facilities, the gym is nice, the campus is nice, we went to a football game and that was nice," said Howard, who was in Bloomington for IU's Midnight Madness last year. "I like the environment with the players. They are very accepting, and the coaches are really nice. It seems like the whole basketball organization at Indiana is really tight."
Ohio State, meanwhile, has the homestate draw along with the success that Coach Thad Matta has enjoyed since taking over in Columbus.
"Ohio State, being in Ohio, I know a lot of players like Kosta Koufos, we worked out a lot together," Howard said. "It's also closer. The stadium is nice, the campus is really big. Thad Matta is a great guy, the coaching staff is really nice, and the team has blossomed really fast since he got there.
"I think Indiana will do the same thing with Coach Sampson. I think those two will be the premiere colleges in the Big Ten for the next few years."
While Indiana and Ohio State figure to battle for Howard as well as jockey for position in the Big Ten standings, Howard will soon return his attention to his prep team, which has a chance to enjoy a special season. In addition to Howard, St. Edward's also features Michigan State-bound Class of 2008 star Delvon Roe. After a perfect regular season last year and a march to the semifinals of the state playoffs, St. Edward's is expected to be a top-five team nationally when the USA Today rankings come out.
That expected lofty ranking and star power has earned St. Edward's a special opportunity – they'll be on ESPN late this year in a nationally-televised clash with St. Anthony's H.S., which is led by legendary coach Bob Hurley.
"It will be great," Howard said about being on ESPN. "I'd say I'll be nervous, but we've been on TV a few times so you once you start playing you forget the cameras are there and just start playing.
"It's a great experience, and people get to see how good we are. It's a great opportunity."
Howard also considers playing with Roe to be a special opportunity as well.
"He helps a lot because he's one of the top players in '08," Howard said. "He helps me, tells me to relax and just enjoy it. He works so hard, and he's improved so much it keeps me working hard, it shows what hard work can do."
2010 PG Howard Shines at IU's Elite Camp
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