Skip to content

Matt Howard’s value goes beyond the box score

Mar 30, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Matt Howard’s value to this Butler team cannot be quantified by the numbers that he puts up.

Normally when you say that about a player, it’s because they are a role player. Because they are one of the guys that collect floor burns and take charges. It’s rare that the leading scorer and leading rebounder for a team in the Final Four can be undervalued, but that is the case with Matt Howard.

Howard is averaging 16.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg on the season, shooting 42.6 percent from three. While his scoring has been a bit down in the tournament — he’s averaging 15.8 ppg while Shelvin Mack has climbed to 21.3 ppg in the four games — Howard’s contribution to this team hasn’t diminished in the least.

Howard is Butler basketball.

He stands 6-foot-8 and weighs about 230 pounds, but calling him unathletic would be a compliment. He’s not successful because of his outrageous vertical leap or overwhelming quickness or blazing speed. He’s successful because he knows how to play and, more importantly, because he is the hardest working player on the court.

That determination rubs off on his teammates.

“He makes you play hard. I’ve never seen him take a play off – in a game, practice or even an open gym,” Andrew Smith said of Howard.

“You don’t want to let him down,” Shawn Vanzant said.

“Otherwise he looks at you with those eyes,” Ronald Nored said.

All of those quotes were given to Jeff Goodman at the Southeast regional in New Orleans, and all of them are completely accurate.

One of the things said about Howard is that he always seems to find himself in the right place at the right time. It’s true, and its not because he is lucky. Howard gets himself into the right position. Its a manifestation of his desire to never quit on a play, which has won the Bulldogs two games in this tournament.

In the round of 64 against Old Dominion, Howard grabbed a loose ball and scored on a layup as time expired. In the round of 32 against Pitt, it was Howard boxing out Nasir Robinson and drawing a foul that resulted in the game-winning free throw.

It’s more than just the attitude, however. Howard actually is a very talented basketball player. He can score in the post. He’s added deadly three-point range to his arsenal. He’s left the foul issues that plagued him last year behind. And he’s become a solid inside-out combination with Smith.

Howard’s role on this team as a scorer and a post presence makes him an important piece.

But his work ethic and leadership is why the Bulldogs have made their second straight Final Four.

Latest Posts
  1. Washington State lands commitment from in-state center

    Sep 30, 2014, 1:17 PM EDT

    ernie kent AP

    Ernie Kent lands his third commitment in the Class of 2015.

  2. Report: Jay Williams, Seth Greenberg to join College Gameday set

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

    Seth Greenberg AP

    The pair will replace Digger Phelps and Jalen Rose.

  3. Temple lands their second top 150 recruit in the 2015 class

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT

    Nike Nike

    The Owls may not have landed Jalen Brunson, but they did bring in an elite “legacy” in the back court.

  4. Three-star 2015 guard commits to Long Beach State

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    Reebok Reebok

    Long Beach State has four commits in 2015.

  5. More changes to UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT

    Pauley Pavilion

    Pauley Pavilion has gone under plenty of changes in the last few seasons and dealt with a flooding issue several months back.

  6. UNLV lands four-star 2016 forward

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline Kelly Kline

    UNLV continues to tap into the local powerhouse.

  7. Washington adds fourth commit in Rivals150 forward

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT

    Nike Nike

    All four commits are ranked in the Rivals150.

  8. Kentucky’s John Calipari hired a director of statistical analytics this summer

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    John Calipari’s loaded roster has required a new position on the Kentucky staff.

  9. Rice Owls go through preseason Navy SEAL workouts (VIDEO)

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT

    Rice Athletics Rice Athletics

    New head coach Mike Rhoades is from the Shaka Smart coaching tree.

  10. UNLV transfer receives waiver to play immediately at UT-Martin

    Sep 29, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT

    Deville Smith, Skylar Spencer AP

    Deville Smith has completed the tough task of playing for four different schools in four seasons.

  11. Marcus Smart’s mom reportedly hospitalized the day he shoved Texas Tech fan

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:53 AM EDT

    oklahoma state marcus smart AP

    This provides more context into why Smart did what he did.

  12. Kentucky, Arizona top Blue Ribbon’s preseason top 25 rankings

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    bv5s4hqcmaeawma

    There is only one truly strange ranking in this top 25.

  13. Georgia Tech unveils new gold uniforms (VIDEO)

    Sep 28, 2014, 11:40 PM EDT

    BRIAN GREGORY BRIAN GREGORY

    The Yellow Jackets will have new uniforms as they look to account for the loss of four of their top five scorers from last season.

  14. UConn junior guard hopeful that hard work will result in more opportunities

    Sep 28, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Omar Calhoun Omar Calhoun

    After having to worry about rehabbing from two hip surgeries last summer, Omar Calhoun could simply work on his game this summer.

  15. Summer highlights of USC commits Benne Boatwright and Chimezie Metu (VIDEO)

    Sep 28, 2014, 8:36 PM EDT

    Andy Enfield Andy Enfield

    The task of rebuilding the USC program will be a difficult one, but these two forwards will help matters next season.