Back and Forth

Mississippi is loaded this year with two-sport stars, most notably Pascagoula's Senquez Golson and Petal's Anthony Alford. But the one who might have more upside than any hails from Pearl -- four-star Twymond Howard.

"My junior season in basketball went well," Howard said. "We lost in the first round of the playoffs to (Jackson) Provine, but I think I did better this year because I averaged a double-double (24 points/12 rebounds). My sophomore year I averaged 19 points and seven rebounds."

Howard's leadership skills grew as well.

"That's what improved the most, to be honest. I was just a better leader this season. I was more vocal and told my guys they were messing up when they were not doing right. I have never had a problem being vocal, so it was natural to me. I am not a shy guy. I just did not think it was my place to be that guy as a sophomore but I took over that role this season."

Howard would like to work on one thing the most during the off-season.

"I want to make my jump shot a lot more consistent."

But it was really another sport that put Howard on the recruiting map.

"I averaged two touchdowns a game receiving at Pearl as a freshman. That is when everybody started knowing who I was."

His sophomore season was not a disappointment either. He averaged over 28 yards a catch and scored 15 touchdowns. But then he made a decision to concentrate on hoops and not play football his junior season.

"I just thought I should get my skills developed in hoops so that's what I did. It was tough on me not playing football this year but I just stuck to my guns and sat it out."

During the Christmas holidays Howard decided to rejoin the football program in the spring.

"It was more of my mom's decision. She encouraged me to do it so I went off of what she told me. I just think she wants to open a few more doors for me than what basketball has done for me."

Which schools have offered in basketball, and who else is showing interest?

"Mississippi State has offered me. There are a few more that have been recruiting me like Baylor, Tennessee, and Missouri but they have not offered me yet. Missouri is getting real close though."

Which colleges stands out in basketball?

"I like Tennessee. I like Tennessee a lot. They are my favorite team, but I am keeping my options open."

What about football?

"I like Alabama a lot. They are pretty good. I like (Mississippi) State too. There are a lot of football teams I like."

Howard actually just got back from Alabama's Junior Day.

"I went to Alabama's Junior Day Saturday. They were just glad I am back playing football. Coach (Nick) Saban said he is going to be looking at me real hard this year. If I decide to play football in college they said the door is open over there for me."

Who else in football is showing any interest?

"Arkansas has been sending me a bunch of letters. Mississippi State and Miami have too. Ole Miss has also begun to write me since they learned I am playing football again."

What stands out about MSU's football program right now?

"The only schools I have talked to are Alabama and Ole Miss. The rest just send me letters. I used to talk to Ole Miss while I was playing football but I have not in a while."

What are Ole Miss' positives?

"I went over there a couple of times my freshman and sophomore years and really liked it. They get a lot of support at Ole Miss and it's a great football program."

What is Howard's first love, football or basketball?

"Basketball. It is just a family thing for me. My mom, granddad, and uncle all played. I just fell in right behind them."

Which sport does he believe he has the most upside in?

"I am really not sure. Some tell me football and others tell me basketball. I really like both sports a lot. I think if I just concentrated on hoops I would have more potential, but I might be more natural in football. I really do not know. I am going to just have as big of a season as I possibly can in football and basketball next year and see where it takes me."

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