Although she still has another year of high school remaining, Rhyne Howard decided it was time to make her decision about college basketball. Bradley Central's two-time all-state guard, a state Miss Basketball finalist last season, announced she has committed to Kentucky.
"I just decided I was ready to get the whole recruiting process over," Howard said Friday. "It's felt like a big relief, and now I can concentrate on getting better this summer and my senior year."
The 6-foot-2 Howard had offers from numerous other programs and had narrowed her list to Kentucky, Purdue and reigning national champion South Carolina. She recently eliminated Florida, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State from her potential choices.
"It felt like home when I was there on a visit," Howard said of UK. "I connected with all the coaches and I'm excited to get to play in the SEC. I know I'm going to get challenged there."
Howard helped the Bearettes to an undefeated regular season followed by district and region tournament titles, averaging 19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 4.6 steals a game. Considered a four-star prospect by every major recruiting service, she has been ranked among the nation's top 10 guards by ESPN and is a two-time District 5-AAA player of the year.
"Knowing how long she's gone through the process, I know she's done her research before making this choice known," Bradley Central coach Jason Reuter said. "Everybody wants to be wanted, but there's a certain point when you know you know, and she had made up her mind. She wanted to play at the highest level.
"She's the best all-around player I've coached. She's a 6-2 point guard that can score, rebound and defend. She can help any program in the country with her versatility."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.