Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) is an ex player that spent many years overseas and since retiring has focused his energy on helping unknown players get exposure by organizing games and in many cases helping them find professional jobs. He founded Howard Hoops in 2013 where he brought numerous players overseas to help them find jobs and since 2018 has started the Howard Hoops academy where he helps train unknown players and help find basketball jobs. He started Revizion Sports International which helps players get placed on professional clubs. He now has teamed up with ex professional player Japhet Mcneil to form Howard Hoops Combine which had a showcase in Germany in August 2021. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball.
Ron thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Hey Miles, At the moment I’m currently in Minnesota where I reside with my wife and two daughters. Basketball is going great! I’ve been extremely busy all summer long with developing more opportunities at all levels of basketball. I have recently developed an app called ‘HoopSpots’ where you can download it and find out where you can join some of the open runs ( 5vs5) pick up games and partake in specialized basketball trainings to sharpen up their skills before the next season.
Before we get to basketball, please describe how the last year was for you during COVID? What were the biggest challenges that you confronted in your daily life?
The last year during Covid was challenging. Having to be on lockdown not being able to work, train or live a normal life was difficult. Although, it was able to help me rethink about how I can still be successful while not being actively training or coaching.
With everything that you encountered off the court with COVID, how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?
I have always been a strong man mentally and physically but, what I would say it did was make me realize family is extremely important and to cherish every moment I can with them.
In our last interview a year ago, you had started RSI as well as thinking about coaching a college team. How did your basketball career off the court continue to develop in the last year?
Yes, when we last spoke I started RSI and was able to manage Jaylon Pullen, Pindo Drammeh, Chris Miller, Denzel Brito, John Murray & Max Montag to play during the Covid year until season shutdown. Unfortunately, that’s the same thing that happened for the college season where I planned to coach.
You and Combine Sports CEO Japhet Mcneil have come together and formed the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine. How did you guys come together?
So, Japhet and I spoke about partnering 4 years ago but at the time I could see his energy and passion was geared more at playing professionally still. I couldn’t fault him for wanting to still get paid for doing what he loved.I remember Japhet saying ‘Ron I’m not knocking it, but that ain’t what I wanna do right now’ Fast forward 3 years later we came together to put Germans first Big Basketball Combine that will feature over 20 players from USA and Germany.
The German basketball community is small. Why do you feel did it take so long for you guys to come together and make a great project like the Howard Hoops Combine?
As I always say everything takes time. I had to build a solid reputation in Germany as a business man and show that I could truly provide opportunities for unknown basketball players from America. Now that I’ve done that for 5-6 years it’s time to bring something special to Deutschland where coaches can truly see players in numerous locations in a 3 day time and handpick who they would like to join their club.
Had you seen Japhet Mcneil ball back in the day in Germany? What do you know about his basketball career?
Yes, I had seen him play back before I believe I was playing in Romania at the time he came to play for Heidelberg ProA. I watched some film on him as well in college at East Carolina. He is a solid PG floor general hell there’s a reason why he’s played 13 years pro.
What is the Mission Statement of the Howard Hoops Combine? What is the goal behind this?
The goal behind Howard Hoops Combine is to be able to put players on a platform that provides immediate exposure. This is designed to give players an opportunity to showcase their talents in hopes of being selected to play professional basketball.
How is the Howard Hoops Combine now better than Howard Hoops was? Ronald Howard finds players and helps them get noticed and get jobs while Japhet has been known for developing players in your combine workouts. What else are you guys now doing to make basketball players better?
Each player who attends has the opportunity to participate in group workouts and scrimmages, do combine testing, Live games and interviews. This is something that could be a life changing experience. Our objective is to provide an opportunity for players to make the most informed decision about their future in basketball while providing them the maximum exposure.
This year you have the most players ever with 18 guys plus 2 German players. Talk about choosing the roster this year. Was it more challenging than the last years?
Yes this is the biggest one ever and I believe it’s going to be the best one also. There will be 2 Howard Hoops Combine teams. The way I chose the roster was by giving out 3 scholarships to the combine and then hosting a Howard Hoops Combine in Atlanta selecting more players to participate in this summer’s events. Lastly, Since the tours in the past did so well I have gained the reputation of being able to help players with starting their careers. So the caliber of players wanting to attend just naturally got better.
Which are the players most to watch? You have guys with NCAA, NCAA 2, NAIA and JUCO experience.
Tough one Miles, you really put me on the spot on this one! Although, 6’4 PG Job Alexander from NCAA D1 Cal Poly San Louis Obispo is exciting he is a player. He should go Pro A but I believe he will catch the attention of Pro B clubs. Also Arcaim James Lallemand 6’7 from Eastern New Mexico University NCAA2 & LaByron Cliff Harris 6’7 from NCAA D2 Miles college these two are extreme athletes that play stretch 4 positions that can defend 1-5. I also have a Point Guard who may be one of the most exciting players we’ve seen so far in the 6 years Chris Buckley 5’11 from Baton Rouge Louisiana he was junior college player of the year 2 years ago. Then I have 2 German players this year one who is 18 an up an coming unknown German PG Adrian Worthy and another special upcoming guard who just won a championship in the ProA Niclas Geier. Now, don’t be surprised if you see some others rise up and be noticed as well because it’s some tough talent coming to Germany in August.
Talk a little about the schedule. How many games will there be and against what calibur of German teams will you play?
The players will arrive August 5th and that night at 19:00 they will have group workouts, team practice and live scrimmages. Friday August 6th the two Howard Hoops teams will participate in 2 games One vs each other and one vs a team from the Oberliga near Frankfurt start time 18:30. Saturday is the main event where we will participate in a 1 day tournament in Ibbenburen (ProB) start time 13:00. There will also be guest speakers and a Live Stream. This Howard Hoops Combine is shaping up to be the biggest and best ever. Yes we will have a few guest speakers at the event this year to give players more insight on what it takes to be successful as a pro and what to expect in their first year abroad. We will have a live stream for each day in Germany.
What gives you the biggest kick in 2021 to still organize and be a part of your overseas tours?
The biggest kick for me is being able to meet and experience each and everyone of these young men who give me the opportunity to put them on a platform to pursue their dreams of playing pro. That’s big for me knowing that I’m helping others reach their goals.
Who are the favorites at the 2021 Olympics? Will USA run away with it or will another nation give them a good run for the money?
I think that basketball has evolved around the globe the last 4 years. This will be a very competitive Olympics on the men’s basketball side for sure. My money is still on USA!
Where is Chris Paul now in the discussion of in the best point guards of all-time after winning a ring?
My opinion he is in the top 5 point guards of all time.
Where does sensation Luka Doncic stand right now in the NBA? Is he a top 3 player?
No, right now Luka Doncic is top 8 player in the NBA but if he gets a better team around him I could see him winning a couple NBA finals.
Where do you see the discussion right now of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Lebron James couldn’t defend the title this year and why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned more in this discussion?
LeBron James is a great player fantastic role model but he isn’t considered the greatest player of all time. Michael Jordan changed the game and Kobe Bryant made everyone feel alive again like MJ did. LeBron brings excitement energy to the game MJ & Kobe brought raw skill talent and displayed what hard work and dedication truly looked like on the court. People are just haters about Kobe but in my eye he is the greatest player of all time. RIP
Did you see the sequel to Coming To America? Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
Yes, I saw Coming To America. I liked it a lot thought it had a good story behind it and was great to see the characters from the first one back!
Thanks Ron for the chat