By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Leesburg (April 2, 2016) — Tuscarora High School senior Jamel Howard has made a commitment to continue his basketball career at Eastern Mennonite University starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“I think it’s a huge relief [to be committed],” the 6-foot-3 Howard said. “I feel accomplished of what my mission was, which was to be able to play in college.”
The Division III Royals are coached by Kirby Dean — who will enter his 15th season as the head of the program. In his 14 seasons, he has compiled a record of 177-164.
“I [chose Eastern Mennonite because after]I visited a couple times it just felt like a home away from home,” Howard said. “I connected with [the]team and coach really well too.”
After the Royals finished 9-14 in their 2015-2016 campaign, Howard hopes he can come in and help spark the team with his high energy for the game when he gets time as a shooting guard.
“I think I can give a lot of the energy to the team,” Howard said. “I can do whatever the coach asks me to do, be more of an all-around player.”
During Howard’s senior season at Tuscarora, the Huskies finished the season 21-3 — with two of their three losses in back-to-back playoff games. Prior to the postseason tournaments, the Huskies had won 20 straight games. Following the season, he was named first team All-Conference 14 along with All-LoCo honorable mention.
“It was a fun experience,” Howard said. “I could see the value of family from the team. We laughed a lot and fought a lot but we were always close. Coach Smith and the other coaches kept it fun for the team, too.”
Howard mentioned that his passion for basketball not only came from growing up watching it, but also from coming to the recollection that he wasn’t big enough to play football.
“I play basketball because I loved watching the sport growing up, and I come from a basketball and football family,” said Howard who played his travel ball for the NoVa Cavaliers. “I stuck to it after I realized I was too small to play football. My dad and mom got me started after I told them that I wanted to play. My family and my friends keep me motivated, I play for them.”