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Rolando Howell’s Last Shot

November 5, 2003 Columns No Comments

The Sixth Man

by Doug McKinney

Rolando Howell hasn’t exactly had the ideal college basketball career. Both on the court and off the court, Howell along with South Carolina Gamecock fans have been waiting for his breakout year. Coach Dave Odom, the fans, and himself would like to see that change this season. The problem is, he won’t get that chance until mid December.

Howell, a rising senior who was supposed to be the driving force this year, has been suspended from the team indefinitely for violation of the Athletics Department policy and was arrested in early August. He was arrested for complaints filed against him by his girlfriend who told deputies the two had a fight and that Howell choked her, pulled her hair, and hit her in the face. This has been the second time in Howell’s three year USC career that he has been suspended, with the other incident coming in 2000 for seven games in a money-order scam.

“I will use this as a learning experience and work as hard as I possibly can to be a good citizen and a student-athlete that brings honor to the University of South Carolina,” Howell stated.

Odom has stated that Howell, who will be suspended for the first 12 games of his senior season, is the most gifted player he has ever coached. I hope Odom isn’t forgetting that he coached NBA great Tim Duncan. Coming into South Carolina in 2000, Howell was billed as one of the best high school players. It’s pretty hard to believe that by looking at his stats over his three years of playing. Howell averaged 9.9 points in 2001-2002; followed by a 10.0 average last season.

Howell has been said to remind people of Maryland’s Terrence Morris, a player who was supposed to be the next Joe Smith at UMD but didn’t show up at the big games. And although he’ll get this year to prove to fans and analysts that he can live up to his expectations it won’t be until 12 games into the season.

Before the season started, Coach Odom stated that “This should be Ro’s
year.” Odom has stated that Howell has worked hard in the offseason and has
gained some strength and weight. Nevertheless, the Gamecocks are going to
need someone to step up this year and if Howell can’t play in the opening
weeks that means Odom and USC will turn to Carlos Powell. Powell, a 6’7
junior who also has been known to be quiet in crucial moments, averaged 12.6
points and 4.3 rebounds in the 2002-2003 season.

The fact that Odom has so much faith in Howell either makes him look like a coach that has faith in his kids, or he has just become delirious since switching schools from Wake Forest to USC. Nevertheless, Howell knows he will have one last chance. He’ll have one last chance to prove that he has matured both on and off the court, and he was worth all of the waiting. If he doesn’t perform though, he knows what’s going to happen. The next time a player that comes along and doesn’t show up to play at his full potential, that people will be comparing him to Rolando Howell and not Mr. Morris anymore. Odom doesn’t think that’s going to happen, and Howell doesn’t want to either.


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