Howard had a little help from above. On Monday, Howard got word that his grandfather, Joe Jackson, had passed away.
“I was in class,” he said. “It was just shocking. I tried to make it to practice last night, but I couldn’t. I told my coach and my teammates that I’d be ready for the game. I knew it was Senior Night and that it was going to be special.”
All seven seniors want to be the man to hit the game-winning shot, but Stephens knew there was something special about Howard’s game-winner.
“That was for his Grandpa,” Stephens said. “I know his Grandpa is happy for him.”
After the shot, Howard was on the bottom of a dogpile celebration that included both his teammates and the student section.
“My body was breaking,” Howard said. “My body was hurting, but it was all fun and exciting.”
Wildcats interim coach Matt Yinger called the shot “one-in-a-million.” The Wildcats improved to 9-12 with the victory.
“We just felt like that was Grandpa,” he said. “It’s an amazing shot. That’s one-in-a-million. It doesn’t happen often, three-quarter court shot off one leg, three seconds to go. It was kind of befitting because we’ve been wanting things so badly to turn that corner. We’re hoping coming into tournament time we can hit our stride.”