Howard, Rangers, turning heads with hot start

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Forest Park's Drew Howard has been a big reason behind the team's great start to the season.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — Forest Park getting off to a great start might have surprised some people after losing six players from last year’s team.

“I think a bunch of people are surprised, but I don’t think we’re surprised at all,” said sophomore point guard Drew Howard. “I think we’re pretty happy with where we’re at, but we’re not too happy because we want to keep winning and keep beating everybody, but I think a bunch of people in the community are very surprised with us.”

Howard burst onto the scene last year as a freshman on a team that could’ve filled an entire starting lineup with seniors. He averaged 8.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game to earn honorable mention on the All-Pocket Athletic Conference team.

“He just works so hard in practices,” Rangers coach David Welp said. “He takes it upon himself to come in here and shoot on his own.”

Welp said Howard builds confidence in him knowing that he’s put in the time and effort. The sophomore guard took a couple hundred shots every other day in the gym, while also trying to run and work out this summer. Howard looked to expand his outside shooting, which was one of his strong suits.

Yet, he also wanted to work on other things such as his mid-range shot, floater and finishing at the rim. Howard sought to improve on those things because of how small he was last year, though he feels he’s still small this year. He thinks he’s made a lot of progress with those shots, which he said he practiced often at team camps this summer.

“I got to shoot over the big guys,” he said. “So, I think it’s increased a lot.”

Howard is motivated to get all-conference this year and not just be named an honorable mention. He thought of some of the names on that list, like senior Simon Scherry from Heritage Hills, or some of the players selected from Tell City. Those are the people he wants to emulate by the time he’s an upperclassman, but he thinks both he and the team have a bright future if he can be all-conference by this year. Howard feels he might be considered at the end of the year, but he knows it’s a team effort. He also passes a lot in addition to shooting a lot. Howard thinks some of his teammates, senior Isaac Uebelhor and junior Simon Jacob, should be in that discussion, too.

He said the PAC has some good teams, such as Heritage Hills and North Posey, but he thinks the Rangers are among the conference’s top three or top four teams. Forest Park is seeking both a conference championship and a sectional championship. Howard said that would be hard, but the Rangers could do it. He thinks they could benefit with some wins in the Access Storage Holiday Hoops Classic on their home floor Friday and Saturday, and anticipates January should be pretty fun.

“I think the sky is the limit for us,” Howard said. “I think we can go as far as we can if we want to. This year, we have a bunch of young guys and we have Isaac healthy and next year, I think we’re going to get a bunch of guys back. So, I think this year or next year, we could make a really deep run in the tournament and compete for a state championship.”

 




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