Pack Pursuing Howell

AIKEN, S.C. -- After a stellar week at Reebok U., Marietta (GA) Wheeler forward Richard Howell continued his strong play at the 2008 Peach State Summer Showcase.

After a stellar week at Reebok U., Marietta (GA) Wheeler forward Richard Howell continued his strong play at the 2008 Peach State Summer Showcase.

In three games, Howell posted two double-doubles, including a 32-point, 15-rebound effort in the opener. He followed that up with a 20-point, 10-rebound game and in his final contest he totaled 20 points and eight boards to lead his World Wide Orange squad. WWO left the tournament early because they were slated to play in the Adidas Hoops Festival, but Howell knows he impressed the college coaches in attendance.

"I feel like I'm playing real good right now," he stated. "I've had some big games here. I think it comes from me being almost all the way healthy. I'm nearly 100%... right now I'm about 85%."

"I feel like I'm playing real well."

Howell began his prep career with a bang, and he projected as one of the top players in his class. The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for a period of time, and he has had to overcome a lingering back injury as well. Right now he's playing his best basketball, and it's no coincidence it comes at a time when he's becoming fully healthy and regaining his explosiveness.

"My back and knee have been hurting a little bit, but I'm coming back," he said. "The back is almost healthy, but I twisted my knee a couple of weeks ago when I banged knees with a guy. It seems like I've been bumping knees with a different guy every game. With my back, I had a cyst in it and a herniated disc. When I went back to the doctor the cyst was gone, and I've been doing all my rehab. It's healing faster than my doctor expected.

"I feel like with rehab I'm getting stronger, and I'm coming back even better and more explosive than I was. I feel like I'm playing real well right now."

College coaches have taken notice. A host of programs are now involved for Howell's services.

"I'm just trying to see who's giving me the best look and who has kept up with me even when I was injured," he stated. "Those schools are still in there... Oregon, Marquette, Tennessee, Texas, Memphis, Oklahoma State, and NC State. All of them have offered me.

Four programs have emerged as major contenders.

"I really like Oregon, Marquette, Oklahoma State, and NC State," said Howell. "Those are my top four. I'm going to make my decision before school starts. I'll look at things real closely when I get back from Vegas. I'm going to sit down with my father, and we are going to narrow things down. I think I could make a decision real soon. I'm going to definitely visit Marquette, Oregon, and NC State."

"I really like them."

NC State assistant Larry Harris watched Howell at last week's Reebok U. and over the weekend at Peach State Summer Showcase. Harris is also tracking Howell down at the Adidas Hoops Festival. Howell holds an offer from the Wolfpack and they are certainly in the mix.

"I'm starting to like them," he said. "I have a teammate, C.J. Leslie, who is going to NC State, and we're good friends. I've talked to Sidney Lowe. They are one of the ones that have offered me a scholarship.

"I really like them. I got to visit the school a few times to play basketball and from what I've seen I really like it there. My mother also lives in North Carolina so that's good also."

When asked what will be the biggest factor in his decision, Howell didn't hide the fact that he's looking to play right away.

"The biggest thing for me is to go in and play," he said. "I'm looking for a place I can get on the court my freshman year. I'm going to play hard, and I want that spot. I'm looking for playing time... location isn't really a factor for me."

Howell is currently rated a four-star prospect and the No. 74 player in the country by

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