Faith, basketball and family.
That’s basically the makeup of Jordan Howard’s Twitter profile. Really, go on any of the Howard family’s profiles and you’ll see that.
That’s the main set priorities for the Central Arkansas guard. Howard, who grew up in Arizona and played for Perry High School, had a homecoming Thursday when his Central Arkansas Bears faced off against Arizona State.
Howard ended the day with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, which is something Bear fans have become accustomed to seeing. The junior has already set the school’s career 3-point record in just over two seasons.
— UCAsports.com (@ucasports) December 20, 2016
That’s not a fluke, either. Howard consistently spends 2-3 hours each day working on his shot in addition to his regular practice schedule. His coach, Russ Pennell, joked that Howard is constantly asking – borderline harassing – the Central Arkansas assistant coaches to rebound for him outside of practice.
Howard admits a big part of where he is today is because his family pushed him. The patriarch of the Howard family, Chuck, is the director of performance athletics at Grand Canyon University. Jordan’s older brother, Desmond, was a Perry standout and played at Phoenix College. The youngest Howard brother, Markus, was one of Arizona’s best players before attending Findlay Academy, where he thrived against one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Markus is in his freshman year at Marquette, averaging 9.5 points per game.
Family is crucial to Jordan Howard, which is one of the reasons he chose Central Arkansas, coached by Russ Pennell. It’s hard to find an Arizona program Pennell hasn’t coached for. He was an assistant at Arizona State from 1998 to 2004, an assistant coach for the University of Arizona in 2008 and eventually became the interim coach for the Wildcats when Lute Olson unexpectedly retired, the head coach of Grand Canyon University from 2009 to 2013 and then headed to the WNBA to serve as the interim coach for the Phoenix Mercury for the 2013-14 season.
He met Howard when the guard was five years old while running the AAU program Arizona Premier. Being familiar with Howard, and where the guard grew up, helped Pennell connect with his guard not only as a coach but as a friend as well.
“It’s huge,” Howard said. “He’s been a vital and huge part of my success, being able to put me in positions and always believing in me since high school and even younger, knowing my abilities and knowing what and knowing what kind of player i’ve been. He’s been able to put me in the position to be successful. I really credit him for a lot of that.”
Currently, the Bears sit at 1-12 in the 2016 season, facing programs like Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Butler, Michigan and Arizona State. Both Pennell and Howard believe this rigorous schedule has pushed the team to give their very best….something Howard has done since he was a child competing with his brothers.
In Howard’s season and a half remaining in his college career, expect consistency: He’ll rely on his faith, he’ll lean on his family and he is going to live in the basketball gym.