Dre Howell has played an important role on the Mooresville boys’ basketball team since the time he stepped on campus, earning a starting spot on the varsity squad his freshman year.But after playing supporting roles for most of his Blue Devil career, with standouts like Shawn Lester and Isaiah Johnson leading the way, Howell knew his day as the “main man” would come.That time is now.“The tables have turned,” said Howell. “At first, it was kind of weird, but now I’m just focused on being a leader and helping this team get better every day.”The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward is the only senior on a Mooresville team with many new faces, with three sophomores and freshman in the regular rotation.Because of their youth, the Blue Devils (3-7 heading into the West Charlotte game) have had an up-and-down season, but they also have been competitive in nearly every game. Three of their early-season losses were by less than five points.Instead of making excuses, Howell is trying to lead by example in everything he does.Howell, 17, is already having his best season as a Blue Devil. He leads his team with team-high 14 points and seven rebounds per game and has had several big performances, including 29 points behind five 3-pointers in a win over Alexander Central and 20 points in a close loss to A.L. Brown.But not everything Howell does for his team shows up in the box score.Mooresville coach Michael Micklow said his senior forward is the first to dive for a loose ball or make a hustle play.“Dre is a very versatile guy that is capable of playing inside and banging with the big guys or playing on the perimeter,” Micklow said. “He also does all the little things. He’s not always the most vocal leader out there. But our guys see how he plays, and they follow his example.”Howell has also developed into the team’s defensive stopper, matching up against the opponent’s top talent. He takes pride in that aspect of the game.“I love defense because to stop a guy is like a slap in the face, and it is a great feeling,” Howell said.That kind of effort has rubbed off on his younger teammates, including sophomores Robbie Sherrill, Jordan Vandenburg and Dakota Greenwell as well as freshman Adam Hashem, who have all seen time in the starting lineup. Juniors Ralph Montgomery, Kurt Richter and Bill Williams have also seen key minutes.While Howell’s toughness is evident on the hardwood, he gets some of that from the football field, where he also starred for the Blue Devils as a wide receiver. He grabbed a team-best 43 catches for 606 yards and three touchdowns this past season.Howell is getting college attention in both sports and could soon be forced to make a choice.“I would love to play both, but I will probably end up playing just one in college,” Howell said. “I’m still looking at all of my options, and will take the best opportunity for me.”Micklow said that Army, Davidson, Elon and Liberty have shown interest in Howell, who is also being recruited in football by Elon and South Carolina State.In the meantime, Howell will continue to try to lead his Mooresville team back to its winning ways after going 30-20 in the past two seasons with back-to-back postseason appearances.Howell knows it won’t be easy, as the Blue Devils face a brutal I-Meck schedule, but he isn’t going to give in without a fight.No matter how Mooresville’s season ends in the record books, Howell is leaving a legacy and setting an example for many years to come.“I think this team is getting there, and we’re improving,” Micklow said. “We’ve got the ultimate senior in Dre. It takes a lot of heart to come from a team that was so used to winning, to lead a team that is still finding its way. But that’s just the type of guy and leader that Dre has become for us. ”
Tuesday, Jan. 08, 2013
Four-year starter leads Blue Devils in new role
Mooresville’s Dre Howell averages team-best 14 points and seven rebounds
Dre Howell, a 6-foot-5 four-year starter at Mooresville, has a larger role for the inexperienced Blue Devils. The senior averages 14 points per game and seven rebounds during Mooresville's 3-7 start. COURTESY OF MICHAEL MICKLOW
Mooresville's Dre Howell leads his team offensively, but he also takes pride in being a defensive stopper. COURTESY OF DRE HOWELL
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for Mooresville News. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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