After a top-five finish a season ago, Rhyne Howard should be the runaway preseason favorite for this award.
The rising junior for the No. 11 Kentucky Women’s Basketball was one of 20 players named to the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List, which is given out annually to the top small forward in women’s college basketball. Howard was one of five finalists for the 2020 award but ultimately lost to Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu. Entering the 2020-21 season, she’ll be a heavy favorite to win several individual player awards, including National Player of the Year, as well.
The list will trim down to 10 players in early February, then to a top-five in early March before a winner is announced on April, 9.
Let the list grow. ?
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) November 11, 2020
A few notable names joining the Kentucky guard (or small forward, technically) as one of the 20 players are Elizabeth Balogun (Louisville), Rickea Jackson (Mississippi State), Brea Beal (South Carolina), and Rennia Davis (Tennessee). Balogun actually played at the same high school as incoming first-year Kentucky hooper Treasure Hunt. Three of last season’s top-five finalists–Howard, Ashley Joens (Iowa State), and Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA)–are also in the mix once again.
Howard is the reigning 2020 SEC Player of the Year and will look to repeat that again this season after posting 23.4 points per game as a sophomore, second-most in the country. She also made both the All-SEC First Team and the SEC All-Defensive Team in 2019-20. The Cheryl Miller Preseason recognition is only going to be the first of many more to come.