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Markus Howard thriving against top competition

By Alec Kinsky, D1 Circuit, 05/20/15, 4:45PM EDT

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The LV Prospects sophomore scorer is putting up huge numbers

Coming into the 2015 season, it was uncertain how Markus Howard's scoring ability would translate against the nation's competition.

Luckily for the Las Vegas Prospects, Howard has made the transition look easy.

Through 12 games against some extremely tough opposition, Howard has proven that his scoring ability is valid against anyone.

At 5-foot-11, Howard will always be undersized. He quickly makes that a moot point after seeing him play, utilizing speed, quickness and body control to consistently score from all spots on the floor.

The most impressive part? Howard has shown that he is way more than just a scorer. He uses his scoring to set up his teammates, and they all spoke the world of playing with him.

D1's Alec Kinsky sat down with the talented sophomore in what ended up being a very thorough, informative interview with one of the nation's rising talents. The full interview is below:

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Alec Kinsky: Coming off huge win to finish session 3 against Houston Hoops. How you feeling after the win and the session overall?

Markus Howard: We knew it was going to be a big game. It’s the home team late at night. We knew we had to come out and play hard and play to our full abilities. We knew we couldn’t take any plays off. We played hard each and every possession.

Alec Kinsky: As a young team, is this a win you’re going to look back on when you get to Peach Jam?

Markus Howard: Yeah most definitely. Houston Hoops was the top team in the league. We’re definitely going to use this win as something to push forward on. Just getting this win doesn’t mean we’re the best team, we need to keep working to prove we are one of the best teams out here.

Alec Kinsky: What’s the strongest aspect of your game right now?

Markus Howard: I believe the strongest aspect of my game is my ability to score, in a variety of ways. If the coach needs a shot or a bucket, they can always look to me. I give a lot of credit to my teammates, they open things up and allow me to take big shots.

Alec Kinsky: You’re transferring from Perry (AZ) to Findlay Prep. What went into that decision?

Markus Howard: Coach Johnson contacted me first and asked if I was interested. I said most definitely, because playing at a level like that is something I’ve always wanted to do. We’ve been in constant contact and we sat down and talked, he asked if I wanted to come to Findlay Prep, and I said most definitely. It’s been constant communication so it’s been good.

Alec Kinsky: Is the EYBL experience something that is making you more comfortable about the switch to Findlay?

Markus Howard: Yeah, I think this is all just getting me ready for that type of competition. I’m blessed to be able to play at this level, so hopefully when I get to Findlay I’ll be ready and comfortable.

Alec Kinsky: Is the EYBL the best league you’ve played in?

Markus Howard: Without a doubt. Every game is so intense. Even when we were up by 4 with 10 seconds left, we still felt like we could easily lose. You have to bring it every game or else you’ll get exposed.

Alec Kinsky: You obviously are around talented players with the Prospects and then at Findlay. Is playing with and against that competition evolving your game?

Markus Howard: Most definitely. As a competitor and a basketball player, you want to play against the best. That was a big deciding factor of going to Findlay, just knowing that every day in practice I’ll be playing against the best. Looking back on it, I’ll be able to know that it was the best decision I could have made.

Alec Kinsky: Anything you’re working on specifically right now?

Markus Howard: I feel you can always get better on defense, and I can definitely improve my defense. That’s what I’m focusing on going into Findlay next year most definitely. I know I can do everything offensively that coach needs me to do, I just need to key on in really locking somebody up and truly being a great defender.

Alec Kinsky: You’re the leading scorer in the state of Arizona last year. What’s the biggest difference between Arizona competition and the EYBL?

Markus Howard: Man, just playing against division one athletes every game. The size, oh my gosh, it’s ridiculous. Playing in Arizona, it’s odd to play against guys with more than one division one player on a team. In the EYBL, each team has 5 or 6 six guys that are going to do big things in the future with basketball. It’s definitely a big change. It’s a welcome change.

Alec Kinsky: How did you wind up on the Prospects?

Markus Howard: Troy (Brown) and I have been real close friends since 6th grade. We played on a national team together. Me and him have always kept that relationship. Last summer when I went to Nike Top 100 camp, Troy was there and so was Anthony Brown (Director) was there. They were just talking back and forth with my parents and how the EYBL would get me ready for college. That’s how it got started, my relationship with Troy. We had another chance to play together and took it.

Alec Kinsky: Any update on recruitment? What’s an important deciding factor when picking?

Markus Howard: I have recent offers from UNLV and Texas Tech. But I am very open in my recruitment. My college choice will be a mix of all things. I want to be able to come in as a freshman and be able to play. I want the school to be a great atmosphere.  And I want to have a great relationship with the coaching staff. I want it to be a family-oriented environment, and that I’m close with the coaches and I can look to them for anything I need.

Alec Kinsky: Any goals for the rest of the season?

Markus Howard: Just to get better, man. Just come out each and every session having something to prove, with a chip on our shoulder. Being from Arizona, I’m a little overlooked, and it doesn’t help that I’m 5-foot-11. So just being ready for every game and getting better.