Jen Smith on Basketball

Kentucky lands commitment from ‘explosive’ 2018 guard Howard

Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell cheers on his team against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky, on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 71-63.
Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell cheers on his team against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky, on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 71-63.

Kentucky picked up a key player in the 2018 class on Friday when Rhyne Howard announced that she would be joining Matthew Mitchell’s basketball team.

“I have prayed about it and want to thank my mom for being by my side during this recruitment process,” the 6-footer said on Twitter on Friday. “I have decided to continue my academic and athletic careers at the University of Kentucky. Go Wildcats!”

Howard, a four-star guard out of Cleveland, Tenn., selected the Cats over defending national champion South Carolina and Purdue. She specifically was looking for a school with a strong engineering program.

“That’s an awesome pickup for (Kentucky),” said Bret McCormick of All-Star Girls Report, which has Howard rated as the nation’s No. 21 player overall. “They’re kind of getting back on the right track.”

The Bradley Central High School player becomes the second UK commitment for the 2018 class, joining Harlan’s Blair Green, the No. 35 player overall and sixth-best wing nationally, according to ESPN.

ESPN has Howard, a combo guard that it describes as “explosive in up-tempo game” and who “attacks rim off the dribble,” as the No. 33 player in the 2018 class and the 10th-best guard.

“Super athlete. That’s what she is,” said McCormick, who said that Howard is well suited for an up-tempo style. “She’s very explosive and she’s one of those people who can go inside or outside, draws a lot of fouls and gets to the free throw line. She’s great at finishing in traffic.”

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

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