Josh Howard looks to progress

Josh Howard looks to progress
November 16
04:00 2017

Coupled with his talent, what made Josh Howard an All-Star player on the court was his basketball IQ.  He is now using that high IQ as the coach of Piedmont International University (PIU).  Now in his second year he is looking to see growth from his players on and off the court.

Howard was pleased with the way the 2016-17 season went for the Bruins.  He says for him to take the job on such short notice and get his team to buy in on his program was tremendous.

“I thought the season went well especially having to accept the job two weeks before school started,” said Howard.  “It was a rush and kind of hectic but for me to be able to get the guys to settle down, especially in the second half of the season when they went on an eight-game win streak, spoke volumes on how they finally settled down and listened to what I wanted and became a team.”

To begin this season, Howard says he expects his team to continue to grow.  They lost six players from last year’s team, and Howard was able to bring in six new recruits to fit his system.  He thinks his team can continue the growth they showed at the end of last season into this year.  Thus far, the Bruins are 2-1 on the season.

“A lot of that momentum has carried over into this year because we have our first five games on the road before we have our first home game and that was another way to test these guys,” Howard continued.  “We are still learning to play from start to finish and simple things like that will impact them not only on the court but also off the court once they are done with basketball.”

Howard says his approach coming into this season was drastically different than last year.  He said he mimicked a lot of what he learned from former Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser along with what he learned from former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson. 

“The focus was a lot of individual workouts, testing guys to see if they can do other things outside of what they were brought on this team to do and making sure people all bought in into the system,” he continued. 

With his first recruiting class under his belt, Howard expects the team to continue to look more like he originally envisioned.  He was able to recruit players that fit the system he wants to run.

“I expect us to continue to compete especially since we moved up to the Division I of the conference but we put a lot of teams on our schedule that were powerhouse teams,” Howard said.  “We have teams that will prepare us so when we play in the conference tournament next year we will be ready.”

He says he let his team know last year that he would schedule harder competition this season.  He told them if they wanted to stick with him to be prepared to work hard for it because that is how he was taught how to play.

On the court, Howard says, he will approach this season the same way he always had.  He says the change will come with how he deals with his players off of the court.  He is now more aware of the “weight” a lot of his players carry.

For this season he says he will implement a full court press on defense then fall back into a zone or man to man once the opponent crosses half court.  He has challenged his guys to focus more on defense during practice.

On offense he says he wants his guys to play fast and press the ball up court but wants them to be intelligent while doing so.  He has shown his players former game film while he was in college to give them an example of how he wants it done.

Early on this year, he feels his team needs to continue to stick together and finish out games but that will come with maturity.  He also feels they can really score the ball with the best of them.  He says their shot selection has really improved, making them more efficient on offense.

Howard has given all his players a list of team rules that outlines his expectations from his players.  He feels that this will enhance what he is trying to do along with building more team moral that will hopefully propel them to a successful season.

“A successful season for me is to see my guys graduate,” he said.  “You know numbers on the court matter but to see my guys walk across the stage and feel as though they have accomplished something off the court is the biggest thing for me.”

“When I did that at Wake after having people pick on me from the same city I was raised in, saying he was just going to be another guy from Winston that didn’t do anything, was the greatest feeling for me.  That’s why I didn’t mind coming back for my senior year and push through all that hate and still succeed. I want them to have that same feeling because it will take you far and all it takes is confidence and faith.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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