NBA Draft Feature: Markus Howard, PG, Marquette

The name of the game in the modern NBA is shooting. And few people in college basketball shoot the ball better than Marquette’s Markus Howard. Looking at Howard’s game log feels like you’re reading the stats of a video game character – Howard shoots early and often, averaging 27.8 points per game this past season. It was a career high and his third consecutive year averaging over 20, and the Marquette star graduated as the all-time Big East scoring leader, ending his career on a string of five consecutive 30 point games. Howard drew some criticism due to his role with Marquette, which often involved him taking high volumes of shots. When he was hot, Marquette could hang with anybody, but if he was cold, the Golden Eagles frequently struggled.

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Everyone knew Howard could shoot coming into the year, but he wasted no time in reminding viewers, dropping 40 and 51 points in two games at the Orlando Invitational, leading Marquette to a 3-0 record at the tournament. Howard displayed his ability to grind out wins when his shot wasn’t on in an early conference victory against #10 Villanova; despite shooting just 3-12 from beyond the arc, Howard dropped 29 points, closing out a 71-60 victory on the strength of a 12-12 effort from the free throw line. In a pivotal road game at Georgetown, Howard torched the Hoyas for 42 points in an 84-80 triumph. 

Projection
Wherever Howard ends up playing at the next level, he won’t have to be the go-to guy anymore, which may allow him to utilize his spectacular, if sometimes streaky, deep shooting to his advantage. As 35-foot three-pointers become almost commonplace in the NBA, Howard’s ability to pull up from virtually anywhere on the court will be a great asset for whoever secures his services. Howard shot 42% from three, and it feels like he could be a valuable sparkplug off the bench early in his career, with the potential to develop into a starter if his shot becomes a little more consistent, and his play a little more efficient. 

Prediction: Round 2, Pick 57, Los Angeles Clippers
Patrick Beverley is a 31-year old point guard for the Clippers, and he’s a defensive stalwart that could help mentor Howard on that side of the floor. Meanwhile, Howard has an NBA-ready shot, and he could fill minutes for Los Angeles as they implement their load management tactics with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. 

March Impact Player Profile Series: Markus Howard, Marquette

When you are your team’s go-to player, you have the chance to put your team on your back, or to shoot your team’s way out of the building. In our recent podcast, Nathaniel Lapoint discussed Marquette’s Marcus Howard, and his ability to do exactly this for the Golden Eagles. “I was at the Marquette-Murray State game, and quite frankly, I watched Marcus Howard shoot Marquette out of the tournament” Lapoint commented. That was more or less true as, despite posting 26 points, Howard fired up 27 shots – the rest of the starting lineup shot 30 times combined. He lofted 14 three-pointers, which was two more than the rest of the starters combined. His mass volume of shooting outweighed his 26 points, as a 33% effort from the field was not enough to overcome Murray State, and the fifth-seeded Golden Eagles crashed out of the tournament in the Round of 64.

This season, Howard has remained Marquette’s stud, averaging a career-high 27.8 points per game, shooting 40% from three and 42% from the field. He has a whopping 10 games with at least 30 points, and three with 40+. There is no question that Marquette lives and dies by Markus Howard, which gives him the potential to takeover March Madness, if he can lift Marquette back into the tournament. He’s a high-risk, high-reward player, and if he gets hot at the right time, he could send the Blue Jays on a run in the tournament. 

Howard is undoubtedly the key to Marquette’s success – the Golden Eagles are 9-1 when he scores at least 30 points – and his high volume and shooting ability earns him a spot in our March Impact Player Profile Series.