NCAA BK

Howell taking charge for No. 20 Wolfpack

Share This Story

   
 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)

Richard Howell doesn't mind all the attention going to his more heralded North Carolina State teammates. The senior is focused on ensuring his team meets its potential as an Atlantic Coast Conference contender.

The 6-foot-8 forward is providing interior toughness and relentless rebounding for the No. 20 Wolfpack. And heading into Saturday's home game against top-ranked Duke, Howell doesn't want N.C. State to squander any opportunity to claim the league title it was picked to win in the preseason.

''I just feel like it's my last year and I can't go out there with the same intensity I went out with last year,'' Howell said. ''I don't want to look back and say, `Damn, I could've played this game a little harder.' At the end of the game, I want to know that I did my best and went as hard as I could ever second I was on the floor.''

That attitude has been invaluable for the Wolfpack (13-2, 2-0). On a team with preseason ACC player of the year C.J. Leslie, preseason all-conference pick Lorenzo Brown and projected rookie of the year Rodney Purvis, Howell's presence inside has been critical.

He's started every game of the past two seasons for N.C. State, which has won nine straight and has the chance for its first 3-0 ACC start since the 1988-89 season.

Second-year coach Mark Gottfried motivated Howell to shed 20 pounds and get in better shape before last season, which Howell closed with a 16-rebound performance against Kansas in the NCAA round of 16. Now Howell has added a more vocal leadership role, including promising Gottfried after a 20-point loss to Oklahoma State in November that he would ''never let my team come out and play like that again.''

''He's just doing a lot more things,'' Gottfried said. ''And he's a senior. He steps up. I've always felt like seniors, they approach things a little differently when they're a senior. They start to realize that this is it, no matter what - this is their last year. Things start to matter a little more than sometimes they do when they're younger.''

Howell is averaging 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting nearly 63 percent from the floor. He has eight double-doubles on the season and pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds against Norfolk State on Dec. 15.

''He just adds a dimension to our game,'' senior guard Scott Wood said. ''It makes it that much better, just being determined to go find the ball and having the knack to get a rebound when we need it is huge.''

Howell's presence alongside Leslie will give the Wolfpack the ability to counter Duke center Mason Plumlee, while the Blue Devils (15-0, 2-0) will be short-handed up front with 6-10 forward Ryan Kelly out indefinitely with a foot injury.

''We've got to box him out,'' Plumlee said. ''Sometimes his best shot is a missed shot because he just goes and gets it and gets closer to the basket. He's a tough player, plays physical and he's a high-motor guy inside and around the basket.''

Howell said he didn't start playing organized basketball until middle school because he was focused on playing football as a running back growing up. It explains some of his physical style, from muscling up shots in traffic to beating opponents to rebounds despite the fact he isn't a high flyer.

''I just think it's all about heart,'' Howell said. ''If I'm in the right position or even if I'm not in the right position, I feel if you just want the ball half the time and you have the desire to go get it, then you can get it. ... You've just got to go take it even if they're trying to block you.''

But Howell has also had to control that style to stay out of foul trouble, a frequent problem last season that often left him sitting for long stretches. Gottfried said the coaches have worked with Howell on understanding when to gamble for a steal or rebound and when to back off.

Howell fouled out in both of N.C. State's only losses this year to Oklahoma State and Michigan, and played 19 or fewer minutes in both games.

Howell said the tactics include assistant coach Rob Moxley shouting his name from across the practice court every time he starts to reach on defense. He laughed it off, but was quick to say he's more comfortable when everyone's not focusing on him.

''I'm not one that kind of likes all the attention,'' he said. ''I want to do good for my team. Whether it's me or someone on my team, I just want someone to get that credit.''

Tagged: North Carolina State, Duke, Richard Howell

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..