July 29, 2011

Matt Howard Heading To Greece

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Matt Howard, the third all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Butler basketball history, will continue his basketball career in Europe in 2011-12.  Howard signed a contract with Olympiacos and will begin his professional career with one of the most successful teams in Greece.

“I’m really pleased and excited for Matt,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  “His success and records at Butler have been well-chronicled, but his impact on our program and our University goes well beyond statistics and honors.  He’s a great basketball player, teammate and person, and he affects winning everyday.”

Howard, a 6-8 forward from Connersville, Ind., closed out a celebrated Butler career by leading the Bulldogs to a second consecutive appearance in the title game of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in 2010-11.  During his four-year career, in which he started a school-record 133 games, he helped Butler to 117 wins, four Horizon League regular season championships, three league tournament crowns, four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and two straight Final Four appearances.  He set a school mark by starting 15 games in NCAA Tournament play.

This past season, Howard led the Bulldogs in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg), while shooting .471 (188-399) from the field, .398 (53-133) from the three-point arc and .792 (179-226) from the free throw line.  He finished his career with 1,939 points and 884 rebounds, and he set a school record for career free throws made with 669.  He became the first player in Butler basketball history to have both 1,500 career points and 800 career rebounds.

Howard, a four-time All-Horizon League selection (including three consecutive years on the first team), was named the 2011 Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year, and he was selected to the 2011 Lou Henson All-America Team.  He was named Most Valuable Player of the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship for the second consecutive year, and he was chosen to the League’s All-Tournament Team for a record fourth consecutive year.  He also won the Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Award (given to the collegiate player who best exhibits the traits of tenacity and unselfishness), was named the Most Valuable Player at the Diamond Head Classic, was chosen to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team for the second time in three years, and was selected to the All-Tournament teams at the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional and the 2011 NCAA Final Four.

Among Howard’s new teammates in Greece will be former foe Kalin Lucas of Michigan State.  The two didn’t get to meet on the court, because Lucas was injured, but Howard helped lead Butler to a two-point victory over Michigan State at the 2010 Final Four.

Olympiacos has been a traditional power in European competitions.  The team, located in Piraeus, has won nine Greek League titles, nine Greek Cups, one Euroleague championship and one Triple Crown.  Last season, Olympiacos posted a 26-0 regular season record and captured the Greek Cup.