Welcome back to the longest 15-person countdown about the 2009-10 USF men's basketball team in the history of mankind. If you forgot about the countdown, or want to check back on the previous entries, click here.
There should be no doubt who Number 2 on the countdown should be. He was the wise old sage of the team, and I don't think we win 15 games without him this past year. So with that said, Chris Howard, COME ON DOWN! You are #2 on the Most Important Player for USF Basketball list this year.
Chris came to Tampa from Friendly High in 2005, but was redshirted due to a torn ACL he sustained the week before the season started. He looked ready to take over the point guard duties in 2006, but tore his left ACL again less than a year after the original injury. At the time I really thought Chris' career at USF was over before it even started, and the curse of the Sun Dome had claimed another victim. Howard wanted to show everyone that his knee was going to be OK, and he made his USF debut against Louisville that year. After coming off the bench his first game, Howard started the rest of the season, and he rarely left the starting lineup after that, only coming of the bench three times over the next three seasons.
Howard started all 33 games this past season, playing an absurd 35.8 minutes a game. Chris averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists this year. The Defensive Player of the Year did a fantastic job getting the Bulls set on the defensive end, and Chris grabbed 23 steals and blocked a career-high 9 shots this year. Howard also had a great knack for taking over a game when Dominique Jones was having an off night. You guys might remember the 23-point, 5-rebound effort Chris had against Notre Dame when DoJo went only 3-for-17 from the field.
Sometimes I wonder how different Chris's career would have been if he never tore his ACL. Some said he was the quickest point guard they've seen at USF. Howard did successfully adjust to an old man game, taking his guy down in the post and was pretty effective in getting the shot he wanted, but I would have loved to see a healthy Chris run with Mike Mercer, Dominique, and Jarrid Famous for 40 minutes. That would have been a pleasure to see I'm sure.
No poll today, as there is only one guy left. I promise I will get Number 1 up before football season.