October 8, 2013

Turgeon, Hill active with top 2015 local

Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI point guard Franklin Howard was enjoying a standout summer with Team Takeover on the AAU circuit, showing out at the Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina and numerous local tournaments. But on July 10, after landing awkwardly on an opponent's foot following a dunk, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound four-star recruit ruptured his ACL and is expected to be out until at least January.

"He had ACL surgery in August, so he won't be back in time for the season," Paul VI coach Glenn Farello said. "Obviously we're going to miss him because he's one of the best players in the country. But Franklin is ahead of schedule in his rehab and the prognosis for him is good. He's rehabbing well right now and we're looking forward to seeing him get back healthy."

The injury certainly hasn't scared off the recruiters. Howard, who is considered the best prospect in the DMV for 2015, currently claims upwards of 20 verbal offers, including those from the likes of Maryland, Cincinnati, Florida, Virginia, Georgetown, Miami, N.C. State, Ohio State, Villanova, Virginia Tech and others. He said during a recent Rivals interview that all of his suitors are still in touch and are still active in his recruitment.

The Terps, for their part, were one of the first schools to offer Howard, and the Paul VI guard has since visited College Park. Farello said his point guard enjoyed himself at Maryland and may return for a game at some point, but it's still too early to read much into Howard's travels. (He's also visited Georgetown and a few other nearby programs).

"He's been to a few schools actually, but no need to really get into all those," Farello said. "He doesn't have any favorites or anything like that, and he doesn't have any visits planned at this time. Right now Franklin's focus is rehab and getting back on the court. He's staying very open with the process. He's still just a junior, so there's a long way to go."

Although Howard or his coach wouldn't offer many hints about what direction his recruitment might be headed, Farello did say that Maryland has done a great job connecting with the Paul VI product. Farello said head coach Mark Turgeon and assistant Dalonte Hill have been active in the DMV area and have done their due diligence in attempting to secure the best local players. That said, given Maryland's current guard situation what with Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley coming in, it might make Howard a tougher get.

"Coach Turgeon has been down here, and Coach Hill has been here as well," Farello said. "Those guys are very active and they've stopped by multiple times. They are very involved [at Paul VI] and they have been for a couple years.

"Franklin has been receptive to them, and he's open to what [the UMD coaches are saying]. He's enjoyed the conversations he's had with both Turgeon and Hill."

Last year Howard averaged 11.5 points for Paul VI. He is considered a deadeye shooter with solid handle who also does his part on the defensive end with rebounds and steals. He projects as a two-guard at the next level.

"He's a very versatile guard who can score in a variety of ways," Farello said. "He's a great shooter, he handles the ball well, he passes well and he plays great defense. Mainly we just want to get him stronger and get the ball in his hands more, but he's been great."

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