If you’re a German basketball fan and primarily follow the easyCredit BBL, you surely will be able to easily find the arena´s in big cities like Berlin and Munich, but if your driving through the beautiful countryside of Germany and town hoping, you may not necessarily know if that place has a professional basketball team if you aren´t caught up with the lower leagues like the Regionalliga, second Regionalliga or Oberliga. You won´t find the same caliber of players in these lower leagues then you would in the easyCredit BBL where guys like Rickey Paulding, Bryce Taylor and Quantez Robertson have become the identity players of the league and why people come to watch games. Very often it is these import players in German lower leagues that have some kind of special story and have made their dream come true usually coming from a lower college league, but not necessarily giving less than the BBL players, but often having a special kind of heart that only these type of players can have, because they never had an easy journey to get to the professional level. One of these guys is Ronald Howard. Three years ago, one could of discovered him earning a living playing in the Regionaliga in Limburg in a small school gym in front of not more than 300-400 people. At first glance, one may have thought that 196cm NBA star James Harden had gotten lost or secretly been loaned out for a game, but with closer scrutiny one would of seen the 15cm difference as it really was Ron Howard even if his goatee made him a dead ringer for Harden, but only if one was at more of a distance away. The American is quick to point out what he likes and dislikes about Harden and that having a goatee has nothing to do with him. “I think James is a good offensive player but he doesn’t play defense and that is what I can’t stand about James. Best PG in the league is tough for me because I don’t watch the NBA much because I love Euroleague but I give it to Kyrie that boy knows how to win and as a PG he must know how to be a winner. I grew my goatee out because I´m Muslim”, stated Ron Howard. Even if Howard had played for some other German Pro B teams and in Romania, his professional career was never a cake walk, but one in that he witnessed what lesser known players really go through as making the professional level has many hardships and twists and turns that he somewhat tackled and conquered. Once his professional career ended in 2014, he knew right away, that it was his duty to try to make the professional route for other Americans easier.
Currently Howard is 32 and will be turning 33 in August and had a short professional career, but at least he can always boast that he was able to live the dream of playing overseas.
After a storied high school career at J. W. North High School, Moreno Valley, California where he averaged nearly 30ppg, he got the first taste of the professional waters in 2002 and would last until 2014 of what his basketball future would be like with always having to prove himself again over and over and never getting anything given to him, but moreover always having to fight and somewhat have that “grind” word in his middle name. After playing at Cuesta JC (CJCAA) and San Bernardino Valley JC (CJCAA), he was able to make the next step and finished his college basketball career at Mayville State (NAIA) where he played two successful seasons and as a senior averaged 18.5ppg, 4.6apg, 3.0spg. He then came to Europe and played some seasons in Germany with teams RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB), BG Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga) and Aschersleben Tigers BC (Germany-2.Regionalliga) and Limburg. He also played in Romania and Bulgaria. He hung up his sneakers in 2014 a few months before his 30th birthday. He didn´t even waste a day bumming around the beach at Long Beach, but already had an idea where his life would be going after his professional career. “ I always knew while I was playing overseas there were player’s getting scammed every week by either a fake agent fake Manager or just people getting over on American kids with the Dream of becoming a pro player. So I knew when I finished playing I had a lot of changing to do”, warned Ron Howard. The American probably could of played a few more years in Europe, but not at a high level where he could be earning good money to put away for later in life. “I started with XBA (xcellbasketball academy)in Livermore California with my best friend/business partner Kenyatta Madison. There we attached the youth market heavy, but with girls than added a boys program. Than is when I decided it was time to get back to Germany and help guys get the legit opportunity to showcase their talent in actual games against Real Germans/GermanTeams”, added Ron Howard. When trying to define what Howard´s job title is with his project, the California native doesn´t hesitate a moment, but blurts out his job description quicker than Indiana(NCAA) legend Bobby Knight can hurl a chair at an official. “I do it all. ProTrainer, Youth Development Coach, Coach, Mentor you name it I can do it”, warned Ron Howard.
The American decided to have his base in Germany and continued to live there and was coach for Oberliga team Offenbach only a short ride over the Main river from Frankfurt. At the same time, he would travel back and forth from Germany and the United States coordinating his new basketball baby Howard Hoops which ultimately would give unknown American basketball players who played at the lowest school divisions a chance to come to Germany and play against German professional teams and in front of team general managers. It isn´t only a challenge for the players to give their best on the court, but also for Howard who has to be an ace with the coordination and building his connection resume. “Howard Hoops all came about from just me wanting to give players the right opportunity to put up or shut up. So I knew I could provide the facilities teams coaches and Gm’s the next step was putting it all together”, stressed Ron Howard. In the last few summers, Howard has put together teams to be competitive in Germany, but finding the right mix isn´t always easy. “The process is difficult, but fun once you get to actually see who is really interested and who is wasting your time. I have done better over the last year. But character is highly important”, warned Ron Howard.
One of the great things about the job of Ron Howard is helping full-fill the dreams of young, basketball hungry kids who otherwise would be working at a Wendy´s or KFC for minimum wage if they hadn´t come across his project Howard Hoops is to see the fulfillment that both sides get. Howard as the mentor who get kid´s into the door and the player being thankful for the opportunity. One of the many kids that Howard has helped not only get that first overseas job, but in many cases that difficult second one is Chris Miller from Brooklyn, New York who´s only prior professional experience was for semi-pro league team Jamestown Jackals (PBL). His path in the last 8 months has been a Cinderella story as he played in Germany´s sixth league for Bensheim and just tore up the competition averaging 24.1 Points 7 Rebounds 4 Assists 2.2 Steals Per Game , 30.2 points in the last 11 Games and had a single game high 49 Points and 5 Assists. Granted this league is as far away from the big time as it is pigs ever flying, but it´s a start. After his great season in Germany, he got a follow up job in El Salvador for Denver-FAS San Salvador (El Salvador-Liga MB) which is that countries second league. Another basketball team and added experience plus a new name for the resume. Here the American is also turning heads as currently he is averaging 29,2ppg, 4,7rpg and 4,0apg. He had two 38 point games and one 42 point game. In September 2016 after the Howard Hoops tour, Miller didn´t even have an overseas job yet, but was more than thankful for having connected with the right person Ron Howard. “ I respect Ron Howard tremendously because he is a truthful man. I have been scammed with opportunities like this in the past. They would take my money and never be seen again. I was hesitant to take this chance with Ron because I did not know him. Something told me to take that chance, and I am happy I did because he is true to his word and he has a brand that is growing all throughout Germany and Europe. He has placed players in big leagues and has a high success rate. I think what he is doing is great because he is providing a way for quality players to be seen”, warned Chris Miller. Miller also knows that the Howard Hoops program is one that defines success. It is 2017 and Howard Hoops has placed 40 Americans in Germany/Europe. “I am thankful for Ronald Howard’s Tour. I think what he is doing is great. He is helping guys like me get in front of these coaches and actually show them that it doesn’t matter what school that person went to. A lot of players get denied because they didn’t go to top D1 schools which to me is not fair. Ronald’s tours are defiantly changing the mindsets of these International coaches and agents while giving guys a legit chance to show their talents”, added Chris Miller. Howard also creates a big smile and pats his goatee when discussing the Chris Miller success story. “Chris is a great guy and a hell of a scorer. I joke with him all the time about how he should have come 2 years ago. Each and everyone of my players that has played in Germany/Europe all showed gratitude,love and appreciation all of them was something special for me because without them there wouldn’t be a Howard Hoops.
”, stressed Ron Howard.
It is now May 2017 and in Germany all the lower leagues have closed down shop for the summer while the first division easyCredit BBL are currently starting the semi-finals of the playoffs. For Ron Howard no time to sit back and inform himself how good the chances are for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg to upset top ranked team ratiopharm Ulm, but he is busy in his basketball lab working on the next Howard Hoops tour. In the last weeks Howard has been very busy jetting all over the country from Germany to California to Minnesota and back to California. He recently was in Germany for five days and explains that all this traveling is a great way for him to expand his horizons as his mind is always at full-throttle. “ I have so many ideas in my head so when I’m on the planes flying to these different workouts and clinics. That’s my time to write new ideas down and set more goals”, added Ron Howard. On June 24/25 Howard will be conducting the Pro exposure Overseas Tryouts in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Is this a new way of finding new Howard Hoops players instead of the usual film watching? “No not a new way this is just a better way for me to make it much easier for players in America that can’t afford the Howard Hoops tour. This camp will allow players to showcase their talents for 2 days in front of coaches agents and GMs”, stressed Ron Howard, This will be a full packed summer for Howard and Howard Hoops as there will be various tours in Germany and for the first time a tour in the UK. Plus Howard has another surprise slated for release on October first. “This will be the best Summer Howard Hoops has had in 2years. I’m very anxious for the summer. A DVD will be released and you will see it all with a little emotional entertainment exposure and one of the greatest experiences that these young players will ever get in their life”, said Ron Howard. Even if Howard has a very busy summer with his ever growing Howard Hoops project, he never fears from looking into the future and seeing where he can go with his basketball baby. “My Long term goal is to have Howard Hoops tours all around the world and to eventually own my own team in Europe”, added Ron Howard. But the most important thing for Ron Howard is to continue to help young kids live their basketball dream overseas and utters the same line over and over to his players. “if you can play I can get you paid. But you have to trust The process My process my way if you don’t have a Division one Resume”, warned Ron Howard. So far his process has been a winner and if you are a young, starved basketball hopeful from a tiny school and play ball and run into Ron Howard, don´t fear the beard, because Ron Howard´s process is special love and dedication for you to succeed.