Paul VI’s Franklin Howard attends Syracuse’s Orange Madness

Though just a few months into his junior year, Paul VI swingman Franklin Howard already holds more than 20 offers from major Division I basketball programs. That means on any given day, he might receive a handful of texts and calls from various coaches from different parts of the country, all with the same goal in mind: to land one of the D.C. area’s top players in the class of 2015.

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And as Howard found out during an unofficial visit this past weekend, keeping track of his many offers isn’t always so easy.

With a number of colleges holding their Midnight Madness events this past Friday to ring in the start of a new season, Howard decided to travel up to Syracuse. After arriving early on Friday, Howard took a tour of the school with Orange assistant coach Adrian Autry. As they strolled through the campus, Howard figured he’d gauge how interested the Orange were in him by asking what the chances were of him landing an offer.

“He looked at me and was like ‘What?! We already offered you! Of course we’re interested,”” Howard recalled with a laugh during a Monday phone interview. “He was pretty shocked that I didn’t know. I remember having a long conversation with him one day on the phone, but I really didn’t remember or know. Either way, I’m happy to have an offer from them.”

The conversation was just one of several memorable moments from Howard’s two-day visit to Syracuse. Along with his tour with Autry, Howard met with Coach Jim Boeheim, joined two other recruits at Friday’s Orange Madness and got to talk with some of the players after attending Saturday’s practice.

Franklin Howard, who is rehabbing from surgery on the ACL in his left knee, visited Syracuse last week for its Orange Madness event (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post).
Paul VI junior Franklin Howard, who is rehabbing from surgery on the ACL in his left knee, visited Syracuse last week for its Orange Madness event (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post).

“I’ve always liked the player intros for those, where the players walk out to the music with the crowd,” said Howard, who attended Georgetown’s Midnight Madness the last two years. “And of course, the dunk competition is always good.”

Howard, who also holds offers from Georgetown, Maryland, N.C. State, U-Conn., Virginia and Florida, among others, said he plans to visit Ohio State for the first time on the weekend of Nov. 9.

The visits provide a welcome diversion from the rehab sessions that take up most of Howard’s time these days. Since rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in July and having surgery, Howard has spent three or four days a week rehabbing his knee through various stretching, elliptical and other exercises. Howard said he has also been working with a chiropractor to improve his ankle strength to make sure he avoids any type of similar leg injuries in the future.

“My leg is getting stronger and I’m getting more of my mobility back,” Howard said. “The doctors said I’m on track to be cleared by January or February, but I might sit out the whole season. I feel like I’m getting stronger and I want to play, but I also don’t want to rush back, so we’ll see how it goes. I want to make sure I’m not just physically ready, but mentally ready as well.”

Howard has been attending Paul VI’s after-school workouts this fall, working on his ball-handling and shooting skills on the sideline while his teammates engage in full-speed drills.

The process hasn’t been an easy one for Howard. The week after surgery brought some of the worst pain he had ever endured. And being a spectator while his Panther teammates prepare for a season that has the potential to produce their second Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title in the last three years has made Howard realize how much he loves basketball.

“Rehab has been a lot better than I thought it would be, but it’s not like it’s been a walk in the park,” Howard said. “The toughest part has been sitting out but like I said, I have to make sure I don’t rush back. I just try to talk to my coaches and teammates, stay as close to the game as possible and know that whenever I do come back, I’ll be stronger than before.”

VIDEO OF THE DAY

NUMBER CRUNCH: 1,262
Yards rushed for through six games by Einstein’s Khalil Wilson, who has refocused on and off the field during his second year of playing football, as Roman Stubbs writes.

BREAKFAST LINKS
– See which two teams debuted in this week’s Top 20 football rankings and click here to see how our coaches’ poll stacked up.

– Click here to see who made this week’s All-Met Watch.

– St. John’s used a last-second win against McNamara to improve its positioning for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs.

– After stumbling through an injury-plagued first half of the season, Stonewall Jackson notched a big win Friday against then-No. 14 Patriot.

– Old Mill’s defense has stepped up of late to help the Patriots maintain their undefeated record.

– W.T. Woodson notched its first win of the season behind improved execution in the red zone.

– Damian King led Leonardtown to a win against Westlake on Friday, its first over the Wolverines since 1997.

– Whitman quarterback Evan Smith has helped bring balance to the Vikings’ run-oriented offense.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

Girls’ soccer: No. 2 O’Connell at No. 1 Good Counsel, 5:30 p.m.
After enduring its first loss of the season, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Whitman, Good Counsel looks to keep its position atop the WCAC girls’ soccer standings when it plays host to second-ranked O’Connell, winners of five straight.

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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Roman Stubbs · October 21, 2013