Fennville’s Howard attends Reaching Higher hoops showcase
By Jason Wesseldyk
HIGHLAND—For one day, Milford High School became the epicenter of high school basketball in Michigan.
On that day—Saturday, June 23—some of the top prep hoops players from throughout the state gathered for the 10th annual Reaching Higher showcase.
Fennville’s Coryne Howard was among the nearly 100 participants in the girls’ portion of the event.
“It was a great experience,” Howard said of Reaching Higher. “It was really nice to compete with players from all across the state in front of college coaches.”
A collaborative effort between the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, the Reaching Higher showcase included classroom sessions, on-court drills and scrimmages. Coaches from the NCAA, NAIA and junior college ranks were in attendance.
“Supposedly there were 400 applicants (for the girls’ program) and that was narrowed down to 100,” said Howard, who is preparing for her senior season with the Blackhawks.
In order to be selected, a coach had to submit an application that included such information as season statistics as well as a letter of recommendation from that coach.
Saugatuck girls’ basketball coach Kevin Tringali submitted the application on Howard’s behalf.
“It was kind of unique to write a letter of recommendation for an opposing player, but it was a no-brainer,” Tringali said. “I’ve know Coryne’s parents for quite a while and I’ve gotten to know her since her early middle school years. I think the world of her. She’s a phenomenal basketball player, but she’s also a phenomenal person.”
While Tringali listed several traits about Howard that impressed him, one stood out above the rest.
“It’s her poise,” Tringali said. “She’s been on some teams that have struggled and I’ve never seen her lose her cool with her teammates, coaches or officials. Kids without her kind of mentality wouldn’t handle it as well as she does.
“She just never seems to get rattled. Opposing coaches—myself included—throw double and triple teams at her all the time and she never seems to let it bother her. She’s the kind of player you love to have on your team and hate to play against. She’s special.”
The Reaching Higher showcase is just one of many camps Howard is attending in an effort to realize her dream of playing at the Division 1 level.
She’s also attended the Western Michigan Elite Camp, the University of South Dakota Elite Camp and the Lake Erie College Elite Camp. She will attend the Hope College Elite Camp in July.
“With Western Michigan and University of South Dakota being Division 1, I learned that there’s a lot of good players,” Howard said. “But I was able to compete and hold my own against these players who are bigger, faster, and stronger. Anytime I’m able to have a basketball in my hand it’s a good experience.”
Howard feels like she is playing catch up when it comes to the recruiting game after suffering a shoulder injury during her sophomore season.
“I’m fairly new to the recruiting process,” she said. “My shoulder injury set me behind a summer of recruiting, so I’m currently trying to get as much exposure with as many coaches as possible.”
Thankfully she has a good support system in place.
“My parents have been very supportive,” Howard said. “They’ve paid for my camps and drove many hours to get me there. They’ve sat and watched me for hours at these camps. My grandma drove me 10 hours to South Dakota because my parents weren’t able to come.
“It’s really nice to have a supportive family who wants you to succeed.”
Her father Cory Howard coached basketball for several years at Fennville, including coaching the varsity girls’ team during Coryne’s freshman season.
“I’m really proud of her for putting herself out there, especially at the D1 schools,” Cory Howard said. “She has goals of playing at the next level and as a parent I want to do whatever I can do to help her reach them.
“I think going to the variety of camps you get to see different coaching style, different competition and she is realizing how much work it will take to be a successful college student athlete.”
And while Coryne Howard isn’t sure yet where she will be playing after high school, she knows what kind of academic program she is looking for.
“I want to be an anesthesiologist, so education is also a major factor,” she said.