The 2019-20 G League season is set to get underway this week with many players vying for a roster spot and some familiar faces in new places. One player who will be suiting up for a new team this season is Pe’Shon Howard.
Howard is no stranger to the G League. He’s currently on the roster of the Grand Rapids Drive after being acquired from the Capital City Go-Go in a trade last month. This will be his third season in the league having also spent the 2016-17 season with the then Reno Bighorns while playing last season with Capital City.
As he gets set to enter another season in the G League, he’s looking forward to continuing his growth and development as a player. He believes that the G League has become a good place for players to work on their craft.
“It’s been great, it’s been a lot of learning. It’s been really developing, I think that’s the best part about it. It really makes you mature,” Howard told Ridiculous Upside. “It’s fun but it’s also for development and to get you to that next level. If you take that approach and try to grow, you’ll be perfectly fine.”
Back in high school, Howard was a highly-touted prospect out of famed Oak Hill Academy. He ended up going to Maryland where he made a solid impact as a freshman during the 2010-11 season. He played in 33 games that season including eight starts averaging 5.4 points per game, 1.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
His sophomore season was cut short due to an ACL injury, but when he returned for his junior year, he was named to the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award for the top college basketball point guard in the country. A Los Angeles native, he ended up transferring to the University of Southern California for his senior year.
Although he had his best statistical season as a senior with USC, putting up 10.8 points per game, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, he went undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft. He initially made the Bighorns roster as a tryout player for the 2016-17 season.
As he’s gotten more experience in the G League, he’s come to find a great deal of respect for the level of competition the league has to offer.
“I honestly think in the world, it’s one of the best leagues. Even if guys leave and go overseas, they end up coming back,” Howard said. “This year alone, I was matched up with a lot of two-way guys, a lot of guys that were down on NBA contracts, both years I’ve had that experience. Each team is made up of mostly guys that were in training camp or on a team or on a two-way. They have NBA experience, you’re pretty much matched up with someone every night.”
Howard was able to contribute right away with the Bighorns. That season, he put up 8.6 points per game while shooting 38.7 percent from the three-point line. Last season with Capital City, he improved to 11.1 points per game, 40.6 percent shooting from three-point range, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
His professional basketball journey hasn’t always been in the G League, however. His first pro basketball experience was during the 2015-16 season in Mexico. Howard suited up for Rayos de Hermosillo and averaged 11.9 points per game. He also played briefly for Lobos UAD Mazatlan during the 2016-17 season where he put up 17 points per game and 5.0 assists while shooting 38.8 percent from three.
Having experienced professional basketball in another country, Howard believes that other leagues, such as the ones in Mexico, don’t always get the credit they deserve for having high-level competition.
“Honestly, since I’ve been a professional the main thing, they’ve even said this in the G League, is that guys are professionals,” Howard said. “Just cause it’s not super known, there’s a guy somewhere that can play. In Mexico, their league is up and down, guys have freedom to make plays and show a lot of their games. You’ve got to bring it every night there too.”
Howard spent this past summer playing in the Drew League in his hometown of Los Angeles. His competition included NBA players and some of the top college and overseas professional players in the world.
As he continues to sharpen his craft, he’s confident that he can contribute to an NBA team and take his game to the next level.
“For me, it’s the fact that I was in the G League and able to learn, off the court too, learn how to be a leader, be a good teammate, and how to bring winning plays to a team,” Howard said. “I can shoot well, I can guard, I can make passes, I can handle, I can play point. It’s really just those different types of things. I can bring a variety to different teams, whatever they need I can do.”