Sam Howard, a 2016 prospect at Colorado Springs Christian School, plays for a talented high school team, but a smaller, lesser known one. CSCS is one of the premier 3A programs in Colorado, but only has a student body of 280 total students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. 5A schools often have over 2,000 students in their high schools alone.
Howard is a big man at a small school.
"I would just like to get attention from colleges," Howard, a power forward/center, said. "We kind of feel like were thought of as not as good as the other players just because we go to a smaller school and we're not in Denver. I would just like to get some college attention and see that we can compete with the best."
If there's one thing Howard has shown in high school, it's that he certainly can compete at the highest level in the Centennial State.
The rising big man earned 3A First Team All-State by the Denver Post last season. He earned 3A Second Team All-State by CHSAANow.com, 3A Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the area by the Colorado Springs Gazette, and averaged a 3A best 12.4 rebounds per contest during the 2013-14 campaign. Howard also grabbed a classification best 114 offensive rebounds, averaged 17 points, 2.2 blocks, and shot 62% from the field.
Howard is a 6'7, 230 pound bruising force in the paint who helped lead his youthful high school squad all the way to the Final Four before bowing out to the eventual state champs, Holy Family. The Lions return their entire roster next season and are expected to be a serious force again in 3A.
Howard is also an impact player for both the Colorado Chaos 16's and 17's Elite teams during club season.
He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Sophomore Game at the Rocky Mountain Fall Showcase last October, an all-star event at Legend High School in Parker featuring the premier prospects in each Colorado class. Howard has been a high-level player this AAU season switching back and forth between the 16's and 17's. He was named the Adidas D1 Nation Memorial Day 16U Most Valuable Player, as the Chaos claimed the crown.
Howard has taken advantage of his many tools on the court.
"I can finish around the basket pretty well, I'm very physical, probably too physical sometimes, and I'm pretty strong," Howard said. "As I grow and mature, I'll probably get more athletic, which would be very helpful. I can catch the ball, because I play football too."
"His feel for the game is pretty advanced for a player his age, he does a good job finishing in the paint, he knows when to attack, when to seal hard, and when to set ball screens," Colorado Chaos Director Dave Matthews added. "He's a great passer out of the post. He really just understands how to play in the post. He's also got really soft hands where he catches everything that's in his area, whether it's a pass or a rebound."
The Colorado Springs Christian star also has excellent touch around the rim and into the mid-range. Howard has a solid supply of post moves, as well. He is pretty polished for a 2016 prospect, but would like to continue working on his body.
"I would like to get more physically athletic, have quicker feet, and be more explosive," Howard said. "Those would be the first two things. Then, be more consistent on free-throws. That's one thing I would like to get better at too."
"His fitness level would be a key to improve upon and continuing to get stronger," Matthews added. "He's pretty big and thick as it is, but improving his strength, his shooting ability, his outside touch so he can extend the defenses a little bit."
Howard's play during the spring AAU season has caught the eyes of recruiters.
"I hadn't gotten too much during the school season," Howard said of college interest he's received. "Then, over the couple of tournaments we had, we had one in Vegas, the one where college coaches could come in the spring, mid to low Division 1 majors were asking about me."
Denver, UC-Santa Barbara, Northern Colorado, Nebraska-Omaha, Cal-State Bakersfield, and San Francisco have all shown interest in the 2016 power forward/center.
The Colorado State Rams have also given Howard some early interest. Howard raved about CSU's facilities and school and said his uncle is a Colorado State alum.
Colorado State's football program has been interested in Howard as a tight end, as well. "Last year, CSU came down and had a meeting with me and my athletic director, whose also the offensive coordinator."
He said he would be ecstatic if the Rams started recruiting him harder for basketball, as basketball is his favorite sport.
Sam Howard's advanced skill set, post play, size and strength, along with an outstanding academic pedigree, make him an enticing Division 1 prospect. Despite playing at a smaller high school, he has certainly shown the ability to perform well with the state's best during high school and on the club scene. Howard is an excellent 2016 post.