Put Jamar Howard in the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame

Sports Editor

There are 28 men’s basketball players in Wichita State’s Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Fame. There are a few players that are not in the coveted Hall, but one of them has a strong case for an induction — Jamar Howard.

Howard played for Wichita State University from 2001-05 under former head coach Mark Turgeon. It’s tough to find many players that are as decorated and distinguished in the history of WSU basketball than Howard.

It’s easy to see why he hasn’t been inducted, considering only two players from the 2000’s have been included. Paul Miller, a teammate and member of the same recruiting class as Howard, was inducted in 2013, and Jason Perez (1996-2000) was inducted in 2014.

Wichita State only had two winning seasons in the 1990’s, and the year before Howard came to play for WSU, the team went 9-19 in Turgeon’s first year as head coach.

Once Howard stepped on the court, the program’s losing ways were history. In his first season, the team improved to 15-15, and it was uphill from there.

Starting all four seasons as a Shocker, Howard helped the program achieve numerous milestones.

As a sophomore, he assisted WSU in beating No. 12-ranked Creighton. It was WSU’s first victory over a ranked opponent since the 1990 season and Howard was largely responsible for the upset. He held Creighton’s star player and current NBA player Kyle Korver to two points in the first half.

He also helped the team improve to an 18-12 record and WSU’s first postseason bid to the NIT since 1989.

As a junior, Howard helped the Shockers improve to 21-11 and obtained another NIT bid. By his senior year, the team made its third straight trip to the NIT and finished the season with a 22-10 record.

Howard’s teams were able to do all of that in his time at WSU, and we haven’t even breached the subject of “Jamar the individual player” yet.

“Defense doesn’t show stats, so people don’t remember what he was and what he did as a whole,” said Craig Steven, a former teammate of Howard’s.

“When we needed a bucket, he’d get it — or a tip-in — or he’d get a steal and fast break and lay it in. If you want to base it (Howard being inducted) on one of the best defenders to play at Wichita State, then yeah. Bottom line, he is.”

Howard was a two-time all-MVC first team member, a runner-up to Valley Player of the Year as a junior and named to four straight all-MVC defensive teams. He was also named the defensive player of the year in 2003.

While he was mainly known for his defense, Howard scored in the double-digits each year.

Almost 10 years after leaving WSU, Howard is still ranked as the ninth leading scorer of all-time as a Shocker. He’s also seventh all-time in field goal percentage, third all-time in steals and 10th all-time in blocked shots.

In 2003 and 2004, the Wichita Eagle named him the team’s most valuable player. Shocker Radio named him the most outstanding defensive player all four years. He was given the Ralph Miller Captain’s Award as a senior, and also received the Xavier McDaniel Rebounding Award three straight seasons, which had to be difficult since he played alongside Paul Miller for those three years.

After college, he made the Continental Basketball Association’s All-Star game while being a member of the Great Falls Explorers.

He played for the Dodge City Legends where he was named to the United States Basketball League’s All-Defensive team.

Then he decided to play a year in Nordlingen, Germany where his team won the German Pro A championship in his first year.

I guess the real question would be if Howard is surprised that he hasn’t been inducted yet.

“No,” Howard said with a smile on his face. “That wasn’t my goal. My goal was to go out there and play my heart out. It wasn’t for the awards or anything like that. It was for pride. I know I gave it my all and I’m satisfied with that.

“If I was inducted, it would be a great feeling. I think that would come from the fans. It’d show that they still have love, and appreciate what I did do while I was here. So yeah, I don’t know what to say to be truthful. It would be a proud moment, definitely.”

Howard gave a lot to the WSU program, and it is time for the program to give a small token back.

WSU’s basketball media guide gives the qualifications for being nominated and it states, “Membership is by public nomination and vote by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors. Eligible candidates can be nominated after reaching nine years following their first enrollment at Wichita State.”

If it is by public nomination, then I nominate Jamar Howard to be inducted into the WSU Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Fame.

It’s time to make Jamar Howard a part of Shocker lore.