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2019 4-star forward Rodney Howard commits to Ole Miss over Georgia

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And now we’re off and running for next year.

NCAA Basketball: Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee State Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After securing a commitment from two 2018 targets last week, Kermit Davis and Co. are not done. In fact, they’re already looking forward to next year’s class now that another verbal pledge has come there way. And once again, it is from the Peach State.

Four-star power forward Rodney Howard has decided enough is enough and he is ready to end his recruitment after he verbally committed to the Rebels on Tuesday. The Roswell, Ga. native is the first member of the 2019 class and Kermit’s second four-star in as many weeks. The newest Reb chose Ole Miss over early offers from Chattanooga, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia, Middle Tennessee, Troy, and UAB among others.

He’s also generated some interest from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Xavier recently. And that interest is only going to go given the fact that Howard is already talented enough despite only playing basketball for two years.

The no. 114 player in the country is also rated as the No. 21 center nationally and the No. 9 player in Georgia per 247Sports. At Centennial High School last season, Howard averaged 11.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.

One of the biggest pluses this brings is a presence on the AAU/travel ball circuit. Howard will play his ball with the Atlanta Celtics, a prominent program that has produced talents like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Jarnell Stokes, K.J. McDaniels, Jordan Adams, and current college players James Banks, Braxton Blackwell, and Josh Langford.

The Rebels have tried to develop a presence in AAU circles for quite some time and Howard’s time with the Celtics couldn’t hurt in regards to that.

How does he fit in?

The 6’10, 230-pounder was recently rated in the Rivals 150 at No. 134. But, Rivals basketball writer Dan McDonald thinks he is a bit under-valued.

I’m going to go with Rodney Howard. He’ll be playing with the Atlanta Celtics this travel season and I suspect he’ll be a hot commodity with college coaches very soon. He’s already added offers from Georgia and Ole Miss, but if he plays anywhere close to the way he played during his junior season here in the Atlanta area, there will be many more. He’s a 6-foot-10 post player with great hands, soft touch around the rim and already very comfortable playing on the block offensively. He’s a presence on the defensive end as well. We moved him into the rankings at No. 135 this time, but I still think he has room to move up a fair amount of spots.

That’s enough for me. The four-star rating is great, don’t get me wrong, but the need for a big man outweighs the ranking in my opinion. Last season was an up-and-down one for Dominik Olejniczak and there is still a humongous cloud of doubt surrounding 6’11 Karlis Silins who is coming off two knee surgeries in as many seasons. Bruce Stevens was a pleasant surprise last year but he isn’t the formidable post presence that Ole Miss needs (6’8). Howard’s commitment is a LARGE first step towards securing a very, very important 2019 class that will need to be much better than the 2018 one.

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