The junior forward has been rebounding at a rapid clip and it has helped reshape the Wolfpack.
He had a string of five consecutive games of double-doubles. That catapulted him to second in the ACC in rebounding entering conference games.
"He's just like a magnet to the ball," teammate Scott Wood said.
It should be no surprise that Howell can hold his own around the backboards. He's 6-foot-8 and still burly at about 250 pounds, though he has shed weight to make him more mobile.
Coach Mark Gottfried has credited Howell's rebounding with making the Wolfpack smoother on offense as well. That's because his dedication to the boards has allowed others to fill spots on the fast breaks.
"After the rebound, he has done a nice job of making an outlet pass and really has helped us get out and go," Gottfried said.
If the Wolfpack has been a remade team, there might be no better example than Howell midway through the season.
-- F C.J. Leslie racked up 11 rebounds for the most in an ACC game in the sophomore's career. Combined with a team-high 20 points, it gave Leslie his second double-double of the season and the fifth of his career.
-- G Alex Johnson, a senior transfer from Cal State Bakersfield, was the most-used reserve for N.C. State in its first ACC game. Johnson played 24 minutes, checking in with four points, three assists and two steals against Maryland.
-- G Scott Wood extended his streak of successful free throws to 47 in a row dating to last season by going 6-for-6 at the line in the ACC opener against Maryland. He passed Rodney Monroe's school record of 43 in a row and moved within seven of former Duke player J.J. Redick's ACC record.