Terps Pay Visit to Oak Hill Academy Guard

Last year, Pe'Shon Howard became the second sophomore to start for coach Steve Smith at longtime national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.). It's quite a distinction when you consider Smith's program has won seven national titles and had nine alumni chosen as first-round NBA Draft picks over the past 15 years. So it's no surprise major programs such as Maryland are recruiting the gifted guard.

"He's strong physically for a junior, he shoots it well and he's a lockdown defender on the ball," Smith said of Howard, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound combo guard.

Said his coach with AAU club Team Breakdown, Brionne Gillion: He's a big, powerful guard, he reminds me a lot of a Chancey Billups type of guard. He can absorb contact and knock down shots … It baffles me where some of the reporters have him ranked. Without a doubt he is definitely a big-time guard."

Howard didn't start last summer for Team Breakdown, which featured perhaps the nation's best backcourt in Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight, but he played major minutes and more than held his own in practice against the two blue-chip prospects.

"Oh man, it was a good match-up. Sometimes he out-played them and sometimes they got the better, but he never got thoroughly out-played. He thrives on those kind of things," Gillion said. "He's definitely a high-major guard. That's not in question."

Maryland, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, USC, Virginia, Cal, Indiana and Xavier are among the schools seriously recruiting Howard, a native of Cleveland, Oh., who Gillion describes as a gym rat who'd routinely get up at 5 a.m. and hit the gym.

Terps assistant Chuck Driesell made the trip to rural Mouth of Wilson, Va., last week to check on Howard.

"He said he was expecting his boss [Gary Williams] to come back with him sometime soon," Smith said.

"I think he likes Maryland a lot. He talks about Maryland so I think they're high on his list," Smith said, adding that he can envision Howard making a commitment in the spring.

The Terps have landed a couple of Oak Hill Academy players in recent years, including Landon Milbourne in 2006 and Steve Blake back in 1999. Those, of course, we before Maryland alum Driesell arrived and became the staff's lead recruiter. Still, his ties at Oak Hill go back a ways.

"Chuck is thorough. He does a very good job of being thorough without driving you crazy. I've known Chuck for years, when he was a Division III coach, a DI assistant, a high school coach and now a DI assistant again," Smith said. "He does a really good job recruiting and he's loyal to Maryland because he has ties to the school; of course, his father coached there. So I think he's at a school that he likes and that he wants to recruit for."

"Stay tuned for more on Howard …

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