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Howell fulfills promise by signing with KCU

Fairland Dragons’ senior All-Ohio basketball standout Isaiah Howell signed a letter-of-intent to play at Kentucky Christian University on Wednesday. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, sister Ebony Howell, Ashanti Valentine, Alicia Simpkins, Isaiah, mother Charity Howell, and sisters Ciara and Coco Howell; standing left to right, Fairland head coach Nathan Speed, KCU head coach Akeem Scott, KCU assistant Nick Karle and Fairland athletic director Jeff Gorby. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

PROCTORVILLE — Isaiah Howell is a man of his word.
Several years ago, Howell made a promise to his grandmother and he made good on that promise on Wednesday when he signed a letter-of-intent to play college basketball for the Kentucky Christian University Knights.
“My grandma before she passed away always used to tell me when I was a kid it doesn’t matter where you go as long as you get to play. I promised her before she died that I’d play college basketball for her,” said Howell.
The Fairland Dragons three-time All-Ohio basketball standout brings some impressive numbers to the next level.
He averaged 15.0 points a game, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals this past season. He shot 60 percent from two-point range and 40 percent from 3-point range.
Howell posted two career milestones with more than 1,000 points and 500-plus re bounds.
The Knights lose six seniors and head coach Akeem Scott expects Howell to play immediately and contribute in numerous ways.
“He brings in more of that scoring we’re going to be missing with Hayden Dunn and Brandon Barnes leaving. The combine right there is about 40 points that we’re going to be missing. Hopefully, Howell will be able to come in and cover at least one of those spots. We’re hoping he averages at least 15 points a game,” said Scott.
“From a defensive standpoint, he’s long, he’s very athletic, so I think he’s going to bring a little spice to the side of defense and rebounding from a guard spot that we were lacking. So, he’s kind of a duel threat on that side.”
The 6-foot-4 Howell looked at Shawnee State and Rio Grande among other schools before settling on KCU.
One of the selling points was a chance to play right away.
“I have a chance to play as a freshman so that’s big. Plus, one of my friends goes down there (KCU football player Michael Tubbs) so I can watch him, too,” said Howell.
“My mom has always wanted to see me play at the next level so it gives me chills just to do this for her so that’s big time I just went here because they were first and they showed loyalty and that means everything.”
Although Howell got a chance to play against some quality teams during his four years at Fairland, he knows the next step up will be an even bigger challenge that will require a lot of work and adjustments.
“I’m going to have to lose some weight, get muscle, get my cardio up, do a lot of things. And work on my game as always,” said Howell.
One positive aspect for Howell is the chance to focus strictly at the guard position. However, it also means some addition work.
“It’s going to be different because I’m used to helping out. I can still rebound, so that’s not going to be a big change. Plus, I do guard drills sometimes and workout so that will help, too,” said Howell.
“But I’ve got to handle the ball way more. I’ve got to work on keeping it close to me and not dribble it so high. I’ve played defense in high school, but I’ve always had (6-foot-8) Kollin (Van Horn) behind me to block something. I have to sit down and guard. It’s going to be a big change but I think I’m going to like it.”
Howell plans to major in Sports Science and Sports Management.