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Many basketball players entering college wants to be a one and done. Some actually have the skill and potential to do so. While that might be the path for some, each individual player must take and make his own route to the NBA.
Markus Howard is simply lighting up college basketball this year scoring the ball. Coming off a Big East record breaking 53 point performance in a win against Creighton, Howard has created a buzz for himself as a National Player Of The Year candidate. Playing in what some people consider the best conference in college basketball should also help his case.
Marquette has had some great guards in it programs history. Everyone knows about future NBA Hall Of Famer Dwayne Wade. Do your research and you will come across players like Travis Deiner, Wes Matthews and Doc Rivers, to name a few.
Yes, Jimmy Butler is an All-Star and an Olympic Gold Medalist but he wasn’t a factor at Marquette. Even he would tell you that.
Howard is no stranger to the big stage. He has already gone off for 37 points against Bethune Cookman and had 45 point performances against Kansas State and Buffalo. All this has happened before he set the record again for most points in a Big East game against Creighton.
With success, there has been some struggle in getting his 21st ranked Golden Eagles in the top 25. In two Marquette losses against ranked teams, Howard struggled to score 18 points in each contest, having off shooting nights.
Entering Big East play Markus, had a season low with 8 points against St.Johns. Looking at the Marquette roster they have some pieces. Of course, this team only goes as far as Markus can take them but that doesn’t mean his supporting cast aren’t capable of helping.
Coach Steve Wojciechowski has done a good job of coaching this group. Not just featuring Howard but making sure his other players like the Hauser brothers Joey and Sam get the experience they need so come tournament time they are ready to play big roles.
Looking at Howard’s season so far it has reminisce of another great Big East guard former Uconn great, Kemba Walker. Like Walker, Markus is putting a team on his back with a few complimentary pieces. Nobody had Walker leading that Husky team all the way to a National Championship. Of course, this Marquette team is a long way from being called National Title contenders.
With all the praise Howard is getting for his scoring, it’s his post season success that he wants to change. He has only played in the NCAA tournament once losing in the first round to South Carolina as a freshman. He lost last year in the NIT championship to Penn State.
That resume won’t cut it if he truly wants to leave his mark as a winner and not just a great individual talent at Marquette. Right now ESPN Bracketology has the Golden Eagles as a sixth seed in the midwest.
Howard has a chance to not only make a deep tournament run, he could also possibly capture a regular season and conference tournament Big East championship. All these checkpoints along the way to make him one of if not the greatest Golden Eagles of all time.
While doesn’t have the size of an elite point guard, Howard is a scorer and can create his own shot off the dribble while being able to finish at the rack. All three will be needed at the next level if he plans to declare for the draft this year. This draft lacks depth this is the best time for a older player like Howard to declare while the buzz around him is hot.