Syracuse reeled in one of the area’s top prospects Monday night as Paul VI junior guard Frank Howard committed to the Orange during a live telecast on Comcast SportsNet.

In a low-key exchange with Comcast SportsNet’s Brian Mitchell, Howard donned an Orange hat, spoke of the draw of “historic coach” Jim Boeheim, and joked about the need to go winter shopping before heading to upstate New York. The former third-team All-Met had narrowed his finalists down to Georgetown, Maryland, N.C. State, Ohio State, Syracuse and Virginia.

“Basically it just felt right, it had a great family feel,” said Howard, who said the dedication of his recruiter, Syracuse assistant coach Adrian Autry, was a key factor in his decision.

Paul VI junior guard Franklin Howard committed to ** on Monday night (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post). Paul VI junior guard Franklin Howard committed to Syracuse on Monday night (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post).

After rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while playing in an AAU tournament with Team Takeover last July, Howard sat out this past season during Paul VI’s run to the WCAC, VISAA Division I and Alhambra Invitational titles. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-4 Howard made his mark as a versatile swingman for the Panthers, averaging 11.5 points with sound shooting and deft scoring ability off the dribble.

“I was worried at first that (the injury) might affect my recruiting,” Howard said. “But the letters kept coming and calls kept coming, especially from Coach Autry. They kept checking in to see how I was doing.”

Howard said he feels recovered enough that he “could play now,” but that he’s easing back into basketball and plans to return to play with Team Takeover in late May.

Howard’s play with Team Takeover and Paul VI over the past few seasons helped him rack up offers from the likes of Florida, Connecticut, Kansas and Miami before narrowing his list down to six finalists for Monday’s announcement on Comcast.

“It was a blessing to have the opportunity to make my announcement that way,” he said. “Not a lot of people get that opportunity, it was great. I was really blessed to be able to do that.”

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