Markus Howard, a four-star point guard, will transfer from Perry in Gilbert, Ariz., to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., Findlay coach Andy Johnson tweeted on Tuesday night.
Howard, a four-star prospect who is ranked No. 40 in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, just finished his sophomore season and was the state of Arizona’s leading scorer at 32.5 points per game. He made 102 of 267 3-pointers and 167 of 192 free throws this past season, leading Perry to a 22-7 record and into the second round of the state tournament.
As a freshman, he averaged 23 points and helped Perry to the Division I semifinals.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for them,” Howard said. “They’ve won three national championships.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Howard will finish out the school year at Perry, before moving to Las Vegas in August. His parents will remain in Gilbert. They both work at Grand Canyon University. Chuck Howard, Markus’ dad, is the strength and conditioning coach.
Howard is playing for former Findlay Prep basketball coach Michael Peck on his Las Vegas Prospects’ club team this spring. The Prospects went 3-1 in the opening weekend of the Nike EYBL in Virginia.
Howard scored 25 points, making five of nine 3-pointers, in the first game of that showcase before experiencing back spasms and shutting it down the rest of the tournament.
“He hit a certain level in high school ball in Arizona,” Perry coach Joe Babinski said. “He likes the big stage. I figured he would have one more year at Perry.
“The Howards are good people. Markus is a great kid. They’re good family. I’m not going to fault them. It’s the sign of the times.”
Babinski said he talked to Markus and his father earlier Tuesday about their decision.
“He has always talked to me,” Babinski said. “He’s a great kid. If that is the route he wants to choose, then I’m 100 percent behind him.”
Howard said he hasn’t been promised great minutes at Findlay Prep. That will have to be earned.
“They don’t commit to playing time,” Howard said. “You have to earn it. I want to play against better competition, really challenge myself. Coach Babinski was supportive. He told me he was glad he got to coach me the last two years.”
The transfer comes about a month after the 5-11 Howard announced he was decommitting from Arizona State. Howard had committed in August as his recruiting was starting to heat up. He wants to reopen the recruiting process after realizing he made an emotional decision early in the recruiting process.
Howard released a statement to explain his decision in mid-March:
“In August of 2014, I was given the opportunity to accept a scholarship to Arizona State University. I accepted the offer and made a verbal commitment. In doing so, it was a very exciting time for me, not realizing until now the complexity of making such a decision at such an early stage of my athletic experience. I don’t believe I took the appropriate time to go through the process that would decide my academic and athletic future.
“After much thought and discussion with my family, I’ve decided to open up my recruitment and decommit from Arizona State University. My decision is in no way a reflection of the coaching staff. They have exhibited nothing but professionalism and sincerity. My relationship with them is the reason why this decision has been so difficult. I hope that ASU will continue to be a college option for me. My family and I would like to personally thank Coach Sendek and his coaching staff for their grace during this entire process.
“This has been a deeply personal decision that some will criticize and many will understand. That is why I trust the fans and those who know my heart will respect my choice to take this time. I sincerely appreciate your understanding.”
Schools recruiting Howard before his August commitment included Utah, Gonzaga, Oregon, Kansas, Florida and Creighton.
Contributing: Richard Obert, azcentral.com