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January 2, 2010

Oak Hill's Pe'Shon Howard commits to Maryland

Pe'Shon Howard made sure a plan was in place just in case Maryland offered him a scholarship this weekend.

The Oak Hill (Va.) Academy combo guard had scheduled an unofficial visit to College Park. Before making the trip, Howard told his father, Bill, that he would commit to the Terps on the visit if given the opportunity.

“[Maryland assistant] coach [Chuck] Driesell and Coach Rob [Ehsan] and Coach [Keith] Booth thought Coach [Gary] Williams was going to offer me next week after their game,” Howard said. “Then they were practicing today and Coach Williams came over and told me he watched my game [on TV] last night [and was impressed]. ... When Coach Williams said [he was offering a scholarship], I looked at my dad and just started smiling. Then I told [Williams] I wanted to be a Terp.”

Howard, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, said he chose Maryland over offers from Georgia Tech, Northwestern, South Florida, UCLA and Virginia.

“I definitely like the environment, I like the players, the coaches and it’s in the ACC,” Howard said. “The fact that I would play early [was important]. It’s a great opportunity to play against the best players in the country.”

The Maryland staff monitored Howard for most of his high school career. The early signing period, however, came and went without the Terps making an offer. Howard chose to remain on the market in hopes of raising his profile while manning the point for Oak Hill as the Warriors embarked on their typically challenging national schedule.

At the Les Schwab Invitational in Hillsboro, Ore., last week, Howard was at his best. He led Oak Hill to a runner-up finish and was selected to the all-tournament team. Williams told Howard he caught his 21-point performance against Westview (Ore.) on tape delay. That game, Howard said, convinced the Terps’ staff that he deserved a scholarship.

“All the coaches said they like my toughness and that I’m a competitor,” Howard said. “I don’t really back down. Also, just the fact that I’ve been winning all my life. I kind of bring that to the team. I’m a versatile scorer. I play D, rebound and do all the things [you would want a point guard] to do.”

Howard, a Los Angeles native, started his high school career at St. Edward High in Cleveland. He transferred to Oak Hill after his freshman year and became just the second sophomore starter for Warriors coach Steve Smith in his 26 years on the job.

As a sophomore, Howard teamed with Brandon Jennings -- now a rookie point guard with the Milwaukee Bucks -- in Oak Hill’s backcourt and averaged six points per game. Last season he shared the ball with MoMo Jones -- now a freshman point guard at Arizona -- and contributed 12 points per game. This season, Howard has averaged 15 points per game, leading Oak Hill to an 18-1 record.

“He’s a big, physical, strong guard,” Smith said. “He’s a combo guard who can play either position. He scores if you need him to and he passes if you need him to. ... He always guards the best player on the other team. I don’t care if it’s a 6-5 guy -- I’ll put Pe’Shon on him. He’s our best defender and he has become a very good 3-point shooter. He’s strong, he drives to the basket and he has a good pull-up [jumper]. He’s going to be a really good player in college.”

Howard said he has been friends with Terps small forward commitment Mychal Parker since his sophomore year and also knows power forward recruit Ashton Pankey from the AAU circuit. He said he's excited to join them, and point guard pledge Terrell Stoglin, as part of Maryland's 2010 recruiting class. Howard thinks his style of play will be the perfect fit for what his future coach wants to do.

“A coach like Gary Williams is the same type of coach as I am a player -- he expects to win,” Howard said. “He’s a fiery coach, and he pushes his players hard to get to the next level. He always expects the best and I know my [future] teammates do too every year. ... I’m someone that's just a competitor and someone that won’t back down in the ACC.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:42 PM | | Comments (22)


Welcome Howard. We wish you nothing but the best at UMD!

Good stuff Matt. Always nice to get players from Oak Hill.

Sounds like a Gary type of player. Comes from a great prep school. Ross not coming is disappointing, but i like the fact we are moving forward. Parker,Stoglin,Howard,Mosley and Bowie for next year. Guards are deep and versatile.Now we need another big man,maybe 2(got to figure Goins is gone)

Excellent pick-up for Maryland. Especially for so late in the game. He's a legit ACC player, who can actually shoot...

Is Howard a replacement for Ross? Does this close the door on his scolarship? I was under the impression that there is still a decent possibility that Ross will come to MD???

There's still a scholarship for Ross. If he's a young man of his word, he will be a Terp too, and Maryland will have the makings of a team that can go deep in the tourney. . .

So are they totally moving on from Ross at this point?
Great. Another blue chipper gone.

I don't know a thing about him but this is great news. Should lift the spirits of all Terp fans that Chuck Jr and Keith Booth got out and did their jobs well. CJ Leslie ain't neva going to MD. So what? No Tobias Harris or Josh Selby. So what? You play what you brung. The Wakes, FSU, VTs, Clemson have no better talent. It's a matter for the coaches to straighten this team out with the talent they have. It can be done.

What now another year of 3 guards starting. I guess Mosley will continue to play out of position.

Re; Ross, a lot of the sentiment has been that he committed to MD, but then got the interest of the blue bloods. Makes sense at first, but think about...if in his heart he really wanted to play for a Duke or Kentucky, would it make any sense at all to commit to MD in April--NO. The reasonable thing to do would be to go out with your AAU team and play lights out, and earn yourself the offer from the school.

Nice to see that Howard did that- witness what he said about remaining on the market in hopes of earning the off from the Terps

Welcome to Maryland, Pe'Shon. Listen to your coaches and work hard and you can be great!

Very good sign. This is good news after some bad last week(Ross).

You guys are crazy if you still think there's a chance that Terrence Ross is gonna be a terp. He's headed to one of the perennial powerhouses: Kansas, Kentucky, or Duke. Do you really think he'd choose UMD over those schools?

Pe'Shon good luck this year. Can't wait to see you in a Terp uniform!

Excellent news! I have seen Pe'Shon play on TV, can't wait to have his toughness on the floor for the Terps next year!

Whoever thinks there is still a chance to land Ross is nuts. MD can't afford another guard even if he wanted to come, which he doesn't. Good grief we are going to be a small team.

Can Jordan Williams dunk a basketball or just miss lay up after layup? He needs some off season conditioning. What landed Padgett in the doghouse?

I was rooting for Pe'shon even when we already had Terrence. Would be nice to see Ross come back and Graham commit, THAT would push are class back up in the top 15......we still need another Big man BADLY, Jordan Williams can't do it on his own.

MD can't get blue chip players? So what. Gary won with blue colar players, rather than blue chip players like Danny Miller, Mike James, and Garrison.

i like CHL's comments ... blue collar is what we do best. hope ross has a good career, hopefully at terp-land with the rest of the crew. if not, looks like we are ok. everyone should move on from ross and welcome the new guys.

enough about ross if he doesnt think the program is right for him (or whoever his handlers are at this point)

note to pe shon...welcome aboard. just listen and learn.

ps if he is good enough for keith booth he certainly is good enough for me

Congrats to Gary, Keith Booth and especially Pe'Shon. Great player and better yet a great kid. It takes the sting out of losing T.R. Let's face it guys, T.R. is long gone. You don't have mommy email in your regrets unless you know you aren't coming. Would have made for an even better class, but still a very good one. If Gary can win with 2nd tier players, imagine what he might do with these guys.

Maryland needs fast and big and shoot well players

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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