UE coach Marty Simmons announced Tuesday that freshman David Howard will sit out this season and redshirt.
“David has an extremely bright future in our program,” Simmons said in a statement. “He will have the opportunity to practice every day while working in the weight room. He will be a big contributor for us next season.”
Howard, a forward out of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, battled for playing time at the five spot throughout preseason practices with sophomores Ryan Sawvell and Jaylon Moore as well as freshman Egidijus Mockevicius, a late signee cleared to play in October.
The 6-foot-8 Howard saw limited action in UE’s two exhibitions, playing two minutes against USI and eight against Illinois-Springfield. He scored six points on 3-for-5 shooting Nov. 3 versus the Prarie Stars, grabbed a rebound and blocked a shot.
Howard did not play Saturday at Notre Dame, preserving his right to redshirt and start next season with four years of eligibility.
While a sophomore at Montgomery Bell, Howard’s team went 25-6 and won a state championship. He averaged 17 points and eight rebounds a game during his senior season.
Howard entered UE as part of a signing class that included guard D.J. Balentine, forward Adam Wing and Mockevicius, a 6-foot-10 center.
David Howard talks redshirting:
What factors went into the decision? “It was something me, my coaches and parents have been talking about since before the Notre Dame game. The coaches thought it was something I should think about, and my parents thought it was a great opportunity for me. They both thought it would be great for me to take time to get stronger and get in better shape. They like the idea of going for a fifth year. I agree with them, and I thought the benefits of redshirting would be great.”
What are you trying to work on before next season? “I want to be a great player for this program, and right now I’ve got some weaknesses I need to work on. The biggest weaknesses I feel like are in the physical aspect of the game — strength and agility and conditioning. I feel like if I really take the time these next couple months during the season, in conjunction with practice — I still get to practice and all that — I’ll lift a lot and do agility work all the way up until the start of next season. I feel like I can make a big jump from this year to next year and get closer to becoming that great player I want to be.”
How does this help academically? “That was another factor. Right now I’m still undeclared. I’m taking a class that’s helping me try to decide. All I know right now is that I like math and numbers. My mom’s an accountant. I’m taking an accounting class right now, and I’m enjoying it. I feel like redshirting this year will help give me time to decide.”