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Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2014

Howard signs to play basketball for the College of the Ozarks

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Photo)
Sikeston senior Darryl Howard signs a letter of intent to play basketball for the College of the Ozarks on Tuesday. With Howard, top row from left, are Sikeston assistant coach Brian James, College of the Ozarks head coach Steve Shepherd and Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. Sitting with Howard is his mother, Valeria Howard, Howard and his father, Darryl Howard Sr. Chris Pobst, Staff
SIKESTON -- After visiting the campus of the College of the Ozarks, Sikeston senior Darryl Howard came away impressed on many levels.

"When I took my visit they were very friendly and had a lot of hospitality," he said. "I've seen a few tapes of them and they looked pretty good, basketball wise. It's (Sikeston's) style."

He was so impressed with what the Bobcats had to offer, he decided to further his basketball career with them on Tuesday at the Sikeston Field House signing a letter of intent to join the College of the Ozarks.

Howard is added to the long list of already inked Sikeston seniors who have received athletic scholarships through the tremendous success they have had on the court or field.

"You look at the success he's had and you want kids that have came from good programs that want to win and expect to win. That's huge," College of the Ozarks head coach Steve Shepherd said about Howard. "Coming from Coach Holifield's program where they've had winning ways, you want that to carry over into our program. I think Darryl will be able to do that."

The 6-foot guard averaged 11.7 points, 4.3 steals and 3.4 assists per game during his senior campaign. Howard was the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer and had the most steals on the squad.

He was an integral part of the Bulldogs' tenacious defense which was the driving force behind Sikeston's Class 4 state championship and their perfect 30-0 record.

"Darryl's been a great player for us, a great student, he works hard and he comes in every day with a great attitude," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "He's so much fun to be around and there's no doubt he has great work ethic."

Howard's athletic attributes have not only suited him well on the basketball court, but also with football and track. The senior has been named all-state within all three programs.

"Athletically, you look at all the accomplishments he's had here at Sikeston and he could certainly be the same at the College of the Ozarks," Shepherd said. "We have very rarely gotten an athlete of his caliber whose had success in football, basketball and track.

"I'm excited for what he can bring to our team."

Howard, just as in high school, will be expected to be the 'defensive stopper' for the Bobcat's according to Shepherd.

"I know that's his pride," he said. "Darryl takes pride in knowing that the other team's best player is his. I would anticipate that would be his similar role at our place."

Howard has no problems with that tag.

"They were looking for a defensive man and I love defense," said Howard. "I'd probably guard the best team's player."

College of the Ozarks, located in Point Lookout, Mo., will be losing six players from last season's 21-11 record.

Shepherd believes Howard can come in right away and challenge for playing time.

"I've told him and I fully expect that he's going to compete right away for playing time," he said. "It is an adjustment for any athlete to make that jump to the college level. Once he gets used to his surroundings and the rigors of the long days of classes, practices and travel, I look for him to compete right away."

Although he played with his future teammates only once, Howard said it felt like a good fit on the court.

"I liked how they played," he said.

Added Shepherd, "He met the guys and he's going to be a great teammate. That's one of the most important things. He's a good, Christian kid, which is important at our school."

College of the Ozarks is a four-year, private Christian college and competes on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level. They are in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. They are five years removed from a NAIA Division II National Championship.

With his mind now concentrating on one sport, Howard believes there will be nothing but improvement from here on out.

"I think I'll be able to excel in it more now," he said. "I won't have to worry about football or track. I'll have more time to do it since it will be just basketball."

Holifield and Shepherd both agreed.

"I think he's just going to get better and better," said Holifield. "His body is going to get stronger and he's going to mature within time. He brings such a great team concept in whatever sport he's with."

"He now has the ability to concentrate on one sport," Shepherd said. "As successful as he was in basketball, I would anticipate that he would get a whole lot better.

"I think it's pretty exciting to think of the potential that he has."


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