Highlight reels show that Matt Howard can finish at the rim with an emphatic dunk. But according to ESPN, his offensive prowess truly lies in his well-developed mid-range game and disciplined decision-making. Perhaps his high basketball I.Q. should come as no surprise for a player with multiple AP courses under his belt.
Howard’s combination of athleticism, scoring ability and basketball intelligence attracted offers from Stanford and Virginia Tech, but he ultimately chose to become a Penn Quaker. A day after a 84-58 blowout of Chapin High School by Howard and his team, I caught up with him to discuss his decision to commit to Penn, juggling school and basketball and highlights from his senior season.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What were you looking for in a school during your college search and the recruiting process?
Matt Howard: I was always looking for a good balance between good academics and a good basketball program, and I found that [in] Penn.
DP: Why, among all of the schools that you looked at, did you choose Penn?
Howard: I had the best relationship with the coaches, and it was probably my best visit that I went on too.
DP: Do you have any connections to Philadelphia that drew you to a city?
Howard: My great-aunt used to live there … I have a grandparent in New York, so I passed through Philly a lot on my way there.
DP: From what I’ve read obviously you’re doing pretty well on the basketball court, but you also have to [be] very successful in the classroom to be able to come to Penn. Is it a challenge to balance your commitments to academics and basketball?
Howard: Yeah, all the time, because when I’m tired from basketball I have to study for a test or something like that, but I think I have a pretty good balance between the two.
DP: What are some of your favorite honors courses that you’ve taken?
Howard: BC Calculus and AP Physics are probably my favorite courses right now.
DP: To talk about basketball now, tell me a little bit about your senior season with A.C. Flora this year. Have you been pleased with the way the year’s gone and how you’re playing?
Howard: Yeah, I’m pretty pleased with how I’m playing right now. I’d like to have a few more wins — I think we’re 12-8 or something like that. But so far, this is my best season by far.
DP: What are you hoping to improve upon even further as you prepare to play at the college level?
Howard: Just staying aggressive, my three-point shooting and being aggressive on the defensive end.
DP: I saw a clip of a game-winning shot you had against Hillcrest back at the Chick-fil-A Classic in December. I was wondering if you could take me through that play and what your thinking was, if you can remember it.
Howard: On that play, there was like seven seconds left, so once I got it out of bounds, I just thought to get it down the court as quick as I could and then once I got it down the court I thought I’d do a fadeaway because I know nobody could block that. And it went in.