Each season, dozens of D-League players are given an opportunity to prove their worth in the NBA. Some make it and hold onto their spots. Many, however, do not pan out. Even so, the D-League's all-time leading scorer, Ron Howard, is yet to receive the opportunity.
Fresh off from leading the Fort Wayne Mad Ants to the NBADL's 2014 championship, Howard continued to prove why he is deserving of the chance this season. At 20.5 points per game, he ranked tenth in the league in scoring and out of those ten players, had the highest field-goal percentage of 47%.. Along with his scoring, the 6-5 wingman recorded 4.3 rebounds and assists per contest, while swiping 1.6 steals. He is a stat-sheet stuffer who impacts the game on both ends of the floor. Above all else, though, Howard is as loyal as they come.
After not being selected in the 2006 NBA Draft, Howard spent one year playing professionally overseas before he was chosen by Fort Wayne in the 2007 D-League Draft. Fast-forward to 2014, and Howard has not only remained on the Mad Ants, but his name and face have become synonymous with the squad. He is a clear fan-favorite at home games and is one of the most respected players in the league. In a game that regularly moves its players from team to team and from city to city, Howard has remained. He is special.
The 31-year-old has come close to making final NBA rosters, but his attempts have fallen short. The Milwaukee Bucks (2008), New York Knicks (2009) and Indiana Pacers (2013) all invited him to training camp, but cut him prior to the start of their seasons.
Earlier, this moth, Howard spoke with RidiculousUpside.com's Managing Editor Keith Schlosser about this situation. While he still longs for the chance to achieve his lifelong dream of stepping onto an NBA court, he is unsure of what else he can do.
"I don't know, honestly. I really don't know. At the same time, I think we all know as players it comes down to finding the right opportunity," he added. "Maybe there's a little bit of luck - being at the right place at the right time, or someone seeing you at an opportune time. I'm trying to put it in God's hands, so whatever He wants to happen will happen."
Yet, it is not too late. Howard still appears to be on top of his game. After his co-MVP season, he will either continue to tear through the D-League and add to his record totals or finally be given the moment he has earned. That, of course, is a moment in the NBA.
Below are highlights from Howard's stellar season: