Had it not been for the efforts of Matt Howard — a floppy-haired forward once described as looking “more like a geeky band-camp RA than a possible NBA first rounder” — Butler would have never gone from being merely a mid-major upstart to the national darling that it is.
The Connersville, IN, native began his Bulldogs career with a bang, winning Horizon League newcomer of the year honors in 2008 and helping Butler advance to the second round of that year’s Big Dance. Initially a glue guy who got most of his points inside or on hustle plays, Howard improved his all-around game year after year.
By the time he was a senior, Howard was a 40% three-point shooter and leading the Bulldogs to their second straight national championship game.
Since going undrafted by the NBA in 2011, Howard has played professionally in Greece, Germany and France. He is currently with the French team Roanne, for whom he is averaging 7.4 ppg on 64.7% shooting through ten games this season.
Howard’s alma mater faces intrastate rival and top-ranked Indiana on Saturday.