In a flair of creative suspense, Markus Howard joined Marquette basketball with THIS VIDEO. Filmed by his brother, the video shows Howard’s journey towards committing to the Marquette Golden Eagles, the decision coming at the end of the video in the vein of true Lebron James announcement fashion.
Howard comes into Marquette as a 17 year old, 5’11’’ point guard who reclassified to the class of 2016 due to his outstanding academic record. He played at Findlay Prep, averaging 18.4 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game, and 1.5 steals per game. The first great stat is obviously the points per game; ranked as the 15th best point guard in his class and 70th best overall player in his class by 247 Sports, you would expect a high offensive output. But personally, I’m more impressed by his 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. For a player at the point guard spot with his size, getting almost 3 rebounds a game shows hustle and effort, something that can only ever improve a team. The 1.5 steals backs up the rebounding numbers, proving Howard’s natural instinct for defensive effort and awareness.
Howard was also chosen to represent the United States in the FIBA U-17 World Championships, where the US took gold. Howard averaged 21 minutes per game, scoring 11.9 points per game while shooting 48.6% from the three point line and 50% from two, and making every free throw he took during the competition.
However, Howard comes into a Marquette squad loaded with point guards and shooters. Transfer Andrew Rowsey, after sitting out a year, joins Traci Carter, Duane Wilson, Haanif Cheatham, and Howard in a crowded group of combo guards (not to mention Sacar Anim, Jajuan Johnson, Sandy Cohen, Sam Hauser, and Katin Reinhardt, who all are wing players that play down into the 2 spot).
Howard’s role isn’t clearly set in stone. By my estimation, both Rowsey and Carter (with Haanif, who ran point last year but can play both guard positions and will be starting at one of the two) are ahead of Howard as pure point guards. Furthermore, Marquette has come into a gluttony of three-point shooting talent; Rowsey, Cheatham, Cohen, Reinhardt, Hauser, and Howard are all considered shooters, and both Duane Wilson and JaJuan Johnson have had success from the three-point line as well. Howard doesn’t immediately replace anyone in the lineup or fill a glaring need on the Marquette roster.
Howard has upside; tons of it. He’s incredibly quick, can shoot both off the dribble and set up, can drive the lane, and has the ability to be a fantastic passer. With the recent uptick in 2017 recruits being bigs for Marquette, Coach Wojo might have a long-term vision of Howard as an electrifying playmaker at the point guard position, both creating shots and chances for his teammates. Howard might not play too much this year, but there will be a spot on the floor for him in certain game situations (playing against a smaller lineup, playing against a vastly slower lineup) and he’ll put in good minutes. I see him as a solid second-string player this year, with the ability to grow into a top Big East point guard in the future.