NBA Draft 2011: Why Matt Howard Should Be Selected on Thursday Night

Jeffrey SchmidtCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies fights for the ball against Matt Howard #54 and Shawn Vanzant #2 of the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

Losing back-to-back NCAA championships must take a toll on a player, but when that player is also the star player and is still predicted not to be drafted, that could be the icing on the cake. Matt Howard has been one of the best players in college basketball over the past two seasons, leading Butler to places they never dreamed of going to once, let alone twice. The senior was one of the hardest workers in the country and proved that he could compete with anyone. The chart below shows how consistent Matt was from when he entered Butler as a freshman until his last game as a senior. 

SEASON

MIN

PTS       

REB

AST

BLK       

TO

A/T

STL

FG%

2007-2008 

24.5

12.3

5.5

.9

1.1

1.4

.62

.7

.583

2008-2009

27.8

14.8

6.8

1.1

1.5

1.6

.69

.8

.550

2009-2010 

25.2

11.6

5.2

.8

.6

1.6

.50

.6

.481

2010-2011

31.0

16.4

7.7

1.4

.6

1.7

.85

1.1

.471

 

Last season, Howard was the main inside presence for Butler and he was able to play with his back to the basket and become a solid rebounder. Howard is also one of the best screen setters in the country, and is extremely confident in his passing abilities. 

Howard is still undersized for the NBA-post (weighing in at 225 pounds), which was clear in his struggles in the National Championship Game against Connecticut's top post athletes. Though he works hard all over the floor, his below-average strength, explosiveness and quickness limited him in college and could limit him at the next level.

However, Howard is one of the smartest players in this years draft and always plays with a sense of urgency. If I was a general manger, I would love to have a hard nose guy that could play 10 to 15 minutes a game and give you everything he had.

By taking a risk on this guy, you know that he will work his tail off and make everyone around him better. Howard is nowhere close to a first round pick, but a late second round selection could be possible. 

Teams like Cleveland and Sacramento could use another physical presence and I see them as likely destinations for Howard. If Howard does get drafted, he will be a model player for that franchise and will contribute some way or another.