Matt Howard NBA Draft: How Does Strong Play of Howard Translate at NBA Level?
Matt Howard is leading the Butler Bulldogs against the Connecticut Huskies in tonight's 2011 NCAA championship game. It is his second consecutive trip to the title game, but what will the future hold for the senior from Connersville, Indiana?
Howard will enter the 2011 NBA Draft and hope to land somewhere in the first round. His strong inside play on both ends of the floor has certainly gotten him noticed. While they may not always be pretty or easy, Howard's numbers continue to speak for themselves. He can bang around inside, crash the boards and post up against good defenders.
At least, that is all true at the collegiate level.
Howard is an undersized power forward, yet he does not have enough athletic ability and agility to be a small forward at the NBA level. If he remains one of those dreaded "tweeners," then finding a home could be difficult.
But you cannot overlook the hustle that Howard shows in each and every game. He scraps, claws, fights and battles for every loose ball. He sets picks that will knock your teeth out if you are not paying attention. He goes after the offensive players in an attempt to discourage from driving at him the next play.
You have to admire all of that on so many levels.
But what type of professional can Howard be if everything falls into place? He is in the perfect situation for a player of his caliber, and the system he plays in is further proof.
You have to be tough to play at Butler. You also have to be tough to play in the NBA (just ask the Miami Heat how things have been going so far this season). Howard exemplifies that attribute.
Mike Freeman of CBS Sports says that Howard can certainly be physical enough to advance to the next level.
Freeman pointed out, "One good example of Butler's physical style (and pushing that envelope) actually came in the championship game last year when Matt Howard set a brutal pick on Duke's Kyle Singler which was so hard Singler's molars went back in time."
Howard plays with a physical prowess that is nearly unmatched at the collegiate level. But is it to cover up a lack of athleticism necessary to play at the next level? That question will not be answered until October.
For more on Howard and the Bulldogs, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Doug Brodess, who takes a look at the NCAA Championship Game 2011: 5 Keys to a Butler Victory.
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