November 13, 2016
This might be one of the most open seasons ever in college basketball for the Howell Trophy. Many years, it seems like the season begins with a clear favorite, but this season, no school boasts a Marshall Henderson, Jarvis Summers, Stefan Moody or Jarvis Varnado.
The http://www.csopavoting.com/howell">only returning finalist from last season is Quinndary Weatherspoon of Mississippi State University. If there was a preseason favorite, it might be the 6-foot, 4-inch guard out of Velma Jackson High School.
Last season http://hailstate.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3835">Weatherspoon ended his freshman season third on the team in scoring at 12 points per game, and he was named SEC All-Freshman and SEC Freshman of the Week twice.
The league coaches named http://hailstate.com/news/2016/11/10/mens-basketball-weatherspoon-tabbed-first-team-all-sec-by-league-coaches.aspx?path=mbball">him first-team All-SEC this preseason. He is the only Bulldog to land on the preseason honors. MSU has won six Howell Trophies, which is the best for any university.
A recent trend in the Howell Trophy has been the University of Mississippi’s dominance. The http://www.clarionledger.com/story/sports/college/mississippi-state/2016/03/07/moody-vivians-win-howell-gillom-consecutive-years/81445142/">Rebels have won the last four awards, with Moody becoming just the second player to win the trophy in back-to-back years.
If the Rebels want to make it five straight, it would seem that the preseason hopes lie with http://www.olemisssports.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/111016aaa.html">forward Sebastian Saiz. The SEC coaches named him second-team All-SEC in the preseason.
Saiz finished last season with averages of 11.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He is the second-best rebounder to return to the SEC this season. The senior is the only Rebel to land on one of the two preseason teams. UM has won four Howell Trophies all in the last four seasons.
The University of Southern Mississippi returns guard Khari Price from last year’s squad. http://www.southernmiss.com/sports/m-baskbl/stats/2015-2016/teamcume.html">Price averaged 9.8 points and is the leading returning scorer.
Him winning the Howell Trophy seems like a long shot since the Golden Eagles are going to struggle due to NCAA sanctions. USM has seen just http://m.vicksburgpost.com/2011/03/08/flowers-wins-howell-trophy-delta-state-forward-veronica-walker-takes-gillom-trophy-2/">one player win the award since the trophy was first handed out in the 2004-2005 season.
Jackson State University might find itself losing the award because the Tigers have two players who can win. Both guard Paris Collins and guard/forward Chace Franklin were named http://www.swac.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27400&ATCLID=211222099">preseason first-team All-SWAC.
Collins and Franklin were important parts of the Tigers’ successful season last year. Both players’ returns give http://gojsutigers.com/collins-and-franklin-earn-preseason-all-swac-honors-tigers-picked-second/">JSU a nice one-two scoring punch.
Collins finished second on the team last season with 13 points and was the top rebounder with 6.1 per game. Franklin was third in scoring with 12.3 points per game and third in rebounding with 5.2 rebounds.
Both players could steal votes from each other if they lead the Tigers to an impressive season. Since the award’s beginning, JSU has had http://djournal.com/sports/jsus-johnson-wins-howell-trophy/">one Howell winner (2006-2007 season) but hasn’t had a http://djournal.com/sports/college/mississippi-state/msu-sweeps-howell-gillom-trophies/">finalist since the 2009-2010 season.
Mississippi Valley State University’s http://mvsusports.com/cumestats.aspx?path=mbball&year=2015&">Howell Trophy hopes will be with Marcus Romain. He led the Delta Devils in scoring last season with 18.6 points per game and averaged 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Romain was named http://www.swac.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27400&ATCLID=211222099">first-team All-SWAC in the preseason and might be MVSU’s best-ever shot at winning the award. The Delta Devils have never had player as a finalist or winner of the Howell Trophy.
Delta State surprisingly boasts a http://www.pressregister.com/article_40f01a68-7742-5790-b306-b87de8c66615.html">Howell winner in just the second year of the award. The Statesmen have another contender this season in guard Devin Schmidt.
The senior was named http://www.gostatesmen.com/news/2016/10/13/mens-basketball-schmidt-earns-preseason-honors-statesmen-picked-to-finish-third-in-gsc.aspx">preseason first-team All-GSC and this is the third time he has been named All-GSC in his career. Schmidt averaged 25.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game as he continued his outstanding career.
Schmidt is the all-time leading scorer in DSU history and has a chance to finish rewriting the record books this season. He is the returning GSC Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Howell Trophy during the 2014-2015 season.