Kentucky freshman guard Rhyne Howard has been named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this year as the Wildcats cross into the second half of their regular season schedule.
Howard earned the award for her efforts against Vanderbilt and No. 7 Mississippi State, where she combined to score 31 points in addition to 11 assists, nine rebounds, seven steals, and three blocks. No. 16 Kentucky won at home against Vandy but fell on the road to an MSU squad with Final Four aspirations.
After winning this award for the fifth time, Howard is now the first player in program history to do so and the second in SEC history. Only Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham won the award more times (six), back in the 2015-16 season. Howard has a chance to break that record to the point where it never might be broken again.
Howard is averaging a team-high in both points (17.4) and rebounds (7.0) per game while shooting over 46 percent from the field and a blistering 41.3 percent on 92 attempted threes through 16 games. She also averages 2.8 assists and ranks fourth in the SEC in steals per game at 2.4.
If Vanderbilt’s head coach comparing Howard to ‘Candace Parker’ following her impressive performance in the SEC opener isn’t enough to ring home just how good she truly is, you’re just gonna have to witness it for yourself. She has the potential to be the best player in the entire conference starting next season. There is definite WNBA talent overflowing from her fingertips. She just plays the game at her own pace that forces her opponents to comply.
I can’t confidently compare her to any current/former female basketball player, but I can say that she reminds me a lot of Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic. Howard obviously doesn’t have the passing touch of Doncic – there are maybe five people in the entire world that do – but she controls the game in ways that are way too reminiscent of Doncic, especially with how she hunts for shots. Both are built like forwards but have the scoring/ball handling skills of a smaller guard.
Howard is a basketball spectacle and her name is going to be heard throughout Lexington for years to come. We are witnessing the early stages of one of the all-time greats to play basketball at Kentucky – man or woman. If you don’t know about Rhyne Howard by now, you will soon.