William Howard Still Favoring Washington, Waiting for Eligibility


On Sunday, I wrote about how the silence surrounding the recruitment of William Howard was based on his waiting to gain eligibility. As you can imagine, it may be difficult to earn a high score on the SAT when you are from France and are still trying to master English. I teach Hispanic and Navajo kids in Northern Arizona and understand the difficulties they experience in school due to language issues all too well. They may seem fluent in English conversationally, but when it comes to academic language, they struggle to comprehend. Heck, even an inner city white kid can struggle with academic language, and it may not have much to do with their intelligence level.

Anyways, I managed to get to the bottom of the silence by reaching out to Howard in French. Since then, I have been able to ascertain that Washington remains at the top of his list. I think one can probably safely assume at this point that Romar is saving that last scholarship for him if he gains eligibility. If he doesn’t, and chooses to return to France to pursue a professional career, then Romar will likely save the scholarship for the big class of 2013.

Anyways, here is the conversation we had:

"@williamhoward25 Bonjour, je suis curieux si vous avez prévu un temps pour annoncer vos plans d’université ou de pro basket-ball @huskyhaul— Jeff Taylor (@huskylenz) May 18, 2012"

Here is his reply:

“I’m waiting for the eligibility. If I’m eligable, I will come to the USA if I’m not I will sign a contact in France”

"@huskylenz Yes Washington its still my first option. I have considering for Ucf, Maryland, Boston college, George mason— william howard (@williamhoward25) May 21, 2012"

Anyways, in case you missed the rest of Sunday’s story, here it is:

The story of William Howard has been shrouded in mystery since his name first popped up late last summer. The 6’8″ forward from France has been described by scouts as being a bit raw, but having tremendous potential. He has a wide range of skills including a terrific outside shot, great slashing skills, and solid rebounding. Even some NBA scouting sites have said he may have a future in the league.

Rumors were that the Washington men’s basketball staff “discovered” him over at the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands of Spain when they were scouting for other talent for the 2011 recruiting class. Then they somewhat secretly “placed” him at the New Hope Academy at Landover Hills, Maryland in the hopes of getting him academically eligible to play college ball in the states.

While he was flying under the radar initially, his stock blew up following a big performance at the National Prep Showcase in November. In his first game, an 84-62 win over Winchendon Prep, Howard scored 19 points, going 3-for-5 from the arc, and grabbed 11 rebounds in. But, it was the next day that really had him stand out against Notre Dame Prep, where he scored 30 points going 10-10 from the free throw line and hitting four 3-pointers, grabbing 14 rebounds, and dishing out 4 assists. He particularly impressed scouts since he was going against the likes of major recruits like Maryland commit Sam Cassell Jr., Xavier commit Myles Davis, and Clemson commit Adonis Filer, who all played for Notre Dame Prep.

You can see some video of his performances HERE and HERE.

After those performances, other schools began to get in on the recruiting trail including Maryland, Providence, Rhode Island, George Mason, and Central Florida. In THIS interview Howard talks a bit about his game, including his love of shooting 3-pointers.

But, following the word getting out about this mystery player, things went eerily silent. Clearly the Huskies need a big man to replace graduated senior Darnell Gant, especially after the inconsistent and disappointing seasons by Shawn Kemp Jr. and Martin Breunig. But, as the spring signing period came and went, the Huskies did not add any wings or power forwards in the class. They did sign TCC shooting guard Mark McLaughlin, which will help offset some of the loss of Tony Wroten and Terrance Ross. They also arranged for the transfer of bigman Perris Blackwell of the University of San Francisco, but it appears unlikely currently that he will be eligible to play next season. So, with one scholarship left to give, how will it be used? How will the Huskies establish some depth up front?

Some have speculated that Romar may be holding that scholarship for the coveted class of 2013. But, others have wondered if he was simply holding it for William Howard.

So, when the spring signing period came and went this past week, many were left scratching their heads. What ever happened to William Howard? If Romar was holding a scholarship for him, why didn’t he sign? Is he even going to sign anywhere? Why hasn’t he announced a decision yet? Is the University of Washington still in the lead? Will Romar use that last scholarship for 2012 or save it for 2013?

Thus, I began an investigation to try and figure out what the situation was. I scoured the internet for any tidbits of information I could gather. But, it was amazingly bare. No mention of Howard for weeks. None of the pay-for recruiting sites had anything. Nothing on twitter. I emailed a number of “recruiting experts” and journalists who had done stories about Howard in the past and all of them said they had heard nothing new for quite a while. Why is the recruitment of this player shrouded in such mystery?

I went onto the New Hope Academy website searching for some information about his coach Chris Chaney. But, the schools does not even list basketball as an option on their site and had no contact information for him. It was getting really weird…

Finally, I went onto William Howard’s twitter feed. It is all in French. I read through weeks of tweets looking for clues about his potential future, but none of them were about his potential college choices or when he might sign. They were mostly about the NBA playoffs, some trash talking about his high schools games, and other stuff you’d expect from a teenager. So, finally I decided to write William Howard directly and ask him in French what his plans were this summer for announcing his college choice. Amazingly, he wrote me back!

Here is what I wrote:

Here is his reply:

“I’m waiting for the eligibility. If I’m eligable, I will come to the USA if I’m not I will sign a contact in France”

So, as I suspected, he has not announced his intentions because he is waiting to see if he can gain NCAA eligibility. I have followed up with a question about whether Washington remains “in the lead” for his services and if he has a Top 5 at this stage.