Former NC State forward Richard Howell was one of the greatest rebounders to ever play basketball for the Wolfpack. His 1,055 career rebounds rank 5th best all-time, but there has never been a better offensive rebounder at NC State than Richard Howell. He holds the two highest single-season totals (135 & 131) and his 392 career offensive rebounds at NC State are matched by no one. We caught up with Howell recently, and he caught us up on what his journey has been like since leaving NC State.
“When I left NC State I went to the summer league with the Denver Nuggets. Before I even played in the summer league, my agent asked me if I wanted to chase the dream, or if I wanted to make money and provide for my family…because I have two daughters,” said Howell. “After I didn’t make it on the Nuggets roster, I went to France to play professionally. I got kind of home sick and didn’t love where we were located, so I left there and came back signed on with the Trailblazers and went to training camp with them, but didn’t make the roster. I then played in the the D-Leauge for a bit with the Stampede, and after that I went and played in Asia. I loved Asia. After I’m done with basketball, I think I want to retire there.”
Howell said that basketball in the Philippines is much different than it is the States. Not just on the court, but culturally as well.
“They are basketball fanatics. They really love basketball and they take care of you,” said Howell. “It’s all about what you do on the court. That’s it. It’s a different than the United States, because it’s very physical. The referees just kind of call it how ever they want it.”
In Howell’s first professional season with Talk N Text in the PBA in the Philippines, he averaged 19.5 points and 18.6 rebounds per game.
Last season Howell spent a short stint in Italy and another short stint back with Talk N Text in the Philippines, before making his way back to the States to join up with the Austin Spurs in the D-League. Combining all of his numbers from all three of those teams, Howell averaged 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season.
Playing overseas has done more than provide financially for his family. It has been an experience that has bettered him as a human being.
“It’s helped me not take things for granted. When it comes to transportation, the food we eat, and just the way people look at you and judge you,” said Howell. “When you travel and see people that have nothing, but they find a way to make it work…it’s crazy. You will talk to people, and have no idea that they live the way they do. They don’t talk about their circumstances. They go to work everyday with a smile on their face.”
Howell said that he thinks all of the ups and the downs of his career at NC State have prepared him for everything that has been thrown at him as a professional athlete.
“It prepared me for the best. During my freshman year I was injured and didn’t play much. Then after my sophomore year, coach Gottfried arrived and I lost a lot of weight, and started winning basketball games,” said Howell. “I know what it feels like to hurt. I know what it feels like to have a losing season. And I know what it is to experience that being turned around.”
Richard told us that he recently tried out for a professional Korean team out in Las Vegas, and it in the process of figuring out if that will be where he plays next year.
Howell represented the Wolfpack well when he wore the red-and-white, and he continues to do so now all around the world.