Nov. 28, 2007
By Herneshia Spurlock
Antionette Howard is one of three freshmen on the team, and this season she plans to turn up the heat. She has many individual goals this year, but nothing is more important to her than seeing her team succeed. As a forward out of Shellville, Ga, Howard knows what it takes to make it to the top.
In high school, Howard helped her team to the state semifinals by averaging 15.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. She was also named the 2007 Georgia's Class 5A Player of the Year and Scout.com ranked her one of the top 20 forwards in the country. Major universities were quick to try to sign Howard to their basketball programs including, UCLA, UF and Purdue.
"I originally planned to attend UF, but that didn't work out," said Howard. "I chose Florida State because of the distance and the coaching staff."
When Howard was younger she spent most of her time dancing. Her brother started teaching her the fundamentals of basketball and soon a star was born. Howard is passionate about basketball and was determined to play on a college-level. It took hard-work and dedication to get to this level and she won`t let herself forget it. Howard's favorite part of basketball isn't scoring points or racking up the record books. Her favorite part is the crowd.
"I love being out there for the fans. I really enjoy the entertainment value of basketball, that's what attracted me to it," said Howard.
As a freshman, Howard doesn't necessarily have all the college basketball experience as her fellow teammates, but her positive attitude makes it easy for her to learn. Howard listens on the court and during practices; she takes every opportunity she can to learn more about the game she loves. Howard's eye is on the prize and that prize is dominating at the Sweet 16. She is mature enough to understand, however, that the road to get there is challenging.
"To get there, personally, I need to obey the coach and work harder," said Howard. "We all have to work hard." Not only is Howard preparing to reach the Sweet 16, but she is also still trying to make the adjustment from high school to college basketball.
"The greatest difference between high school and college basketball is probably the coaching, the skills and techniques that we're taught," said Howard. "In high school, the team is doing most of the skill and coaching work."
Howard is enjoying every minute of being apart of the Seminole team. She is thrilled and enthusiastic to experience the bond that she feels with her fellow teammates. "We are very close, and we have great chemistry," said Howard. "We do a lot of things together outside of basketball."
Howard has only traveled twice with her team so far, but she is already experiencing the excitement. She loves to laugh and have a good time with her teammates. The unity they share on away trips is only intensified when they come back into their own arena. Before each home game, the ladies listen to music to get pumped up for their competition. Howard takes time to focus on what she needs to accomplish on the court. Their strategy must be working, because so far the ladies haven't lost a game at the Civic Center this season.
Having a smaller team - Florida State is only carrying 11 players on this roster - definitely has its advantages. The lady Seminoles seem to be more cohesive and are in sync this season more than ever before. Maybe it's because of their record breaking season last year, or maybe it's because of the adrenaline-pumping season they wish to have this year. Either way you look at it, there's an intense heat surrounding these women this season and Howard plans on turning it up.