By Jordan Brown
The Kentucky Men’s Basketball team is not the only team on campus making waves with players being recognized as some of the best in the country. Rhyne Howard, a member of the Women’s Basketball team, was named to the Cheryle Miller Award Preseason Watch List Wednesday. Head coach Mathew Mitchell has one of the best players in the country and we should expect Howard to put the team on her back as they look to make a run.
The junior was selected to the list by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as one of 20 candidates for the Award. The award is the most prestigious in women’s collegiate basketball, named after three-time Naismith Player of the Year winner Cheryl Miller. Cheryl Miller, older sister of NBA legend Reggie Miller, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and is famous for her 104-point performance in high school.
Howard is no stranger to the spotlight as she was a finalist for the same award a season ago. She was also a one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award. By the end of last season, Howard was recognized as one of the top players in the program’s history. She was the first to earn first-team All-America honors from the Associated Press.
As the 2020 SEC Player of the Year, Howard earned first-team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive Team honors. Already this preseason, she has been named a first-team preseason All-American by Lindy’s Sports alongside the Cheryl Miller watch list. From Cleveland, Tennessee, she averaged 23.4 points per game in her sophomore season. This left her as the second leading scorer in the country while she also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game with 62 steals on the season.
Howard had two of the top-12 scoring games in program history in just one season. She scored 37 in a win over Tennessee and tied the school record with 43 at Alabama. Howard is not one-dimensional, recording six double-doubles last season on her way to reaching over 1,000 career points in a Kentucky uniform. She sits at 27th on the all-time scoring list with 1,158 career points.
It is thrilling to see a member of the women’s team gain this attention nationally as those in Kentucky may focus more on just the men’s team. With Howard coming back as a junior, I expect her to shatter more records and gain more recognition as she continues to move up on the all-time scoring list.