By Jeff Borzello
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There always one or two sleepers that emerge at the National Prep Showcase, especially with the increasing foreign influence on some of the prep teams.
New Hope Academy (Md.) had a distinct international flavor, with players from Puerto Rico, Kosovo, Canada and France on the roster.
The best prospect on the squad is William Howard, a France native who created a buzz with his play in Europe. NBA types have known about Howard for a while, and college coaches are beginning to get acquainted with the 6-foot-8 forward.
He’s a 2012 prospect but will not sign until the spring.
“He still has to take the SATs and, even though he’s in prep school, he’s still young,” coach Chris Chaney said. “He just turned 18.”
Howard really made an impact over the weekend, going for 19 points and 11 rebounds in an easy win on Friday night. He followed that up with 30 points in a high-scoring loss to Notre Dame Prep (Mass.).
He has a good frame and strong legs, but is also long and athletic. He can rebound effectively and knows how to score in different ways.
“He’s a good player,” Chaney said. “He played better.”
In terms of recruiting, Washington, Providence, Rhode Island and Maryland have all shown interest in Howard.
One Pac-12 school stands out, though. “We’re leaning Washington,” Chaney said.
Other notes: Top-three 2013 prospect Nerlens Noel said he plans to visit Florida when down for the City of Palms Classic . . . Junior big man Dominic Woodson listed Michigan, Michigan State and Connecticut . . . South Kent Prep (Conn.) coach Kelvin Jefferson said Xavier and Seton Hall have contacted him about Chris Thomas . . . Dominican Republic native Nehemias Morillo is new to Notre Dame Prep (Mass.), but Ole Miss and Iowa State are already showing interest . . . Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd listed Maryland, TCU, Oregon State, Washington and Texas Tech for Sam Cassell Jr. . . . 2014 guard Jared Terrell has offers from Rutgers, Miami (Fl.), Boston College, Cincinnati and Providence. He also likes Connecticut.