Enterprise native Dallas Howell (34) signed with North Alabama last week.

Former Enterprise Wildcat Dallas Howell signed with the University of North Alabama to continue his basketball there last week.

The 6-foot-7-inch Enterprise native scored more than 1,000 career points at Enterprise High School and averaged 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds his senior year. Howell was a two-time all-state selection and three-time Southeast Sun Male Hoops Player of the Year.

Howell originally signed with the College of Southern Idaho out of high school but after COVID-19 shut down all athletics there, Howell spent all summer playing AAU basketball and opened even more eyes.

That led to a scholarship offer from Division I school North Alabama, which Howell ultimately accepted.

Howell said that the recruiting process was a frustrating one during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID made the recruiting process really tough because with the NCAA ruling that players get another year of eligibility the number of scholarships available to people in my class went way down,” Howell explained. “That meant that if a school wasn’t already recruiting you there was little to no chance you would get any more interest.”

In the end, it was the way the UNA coaches treated Howell that made him decide on the school based in Florence.

“In the end what made me sign with UNA was the coaches made me a priority,” Howell Said. “They were in contact every day and did everything they could to make UNA feel like a place I wanted to be and could call home for the next four years.”

Howell will be eligible to play this coming up season beginning in January. UNA begins its 2020-2021 season on Nov. 25 but Howell’s first chance to play will be the Jan. 1 conference game against Florida-Gulf Coast. He said he hopes to earn a spot in the rotation but even if he does play he’ll still have four more years of eligibility left due to NCAA granting all players an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I earn a spot in the rotation I’ll be able to play, so hopefully I will and since this year doesn’t count against eligibility (the team) is hoping I can still go into next year as a freshman,” Howell said. “So, that’s very exciting.”

UNA jumped up from Division II to Division I just two years ago, joining the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2018, and Howell hopes to be a part of something special with the school. He also has other lofty goals for his career.

“My goal is to help be the start of something special at UNA,” Howell said. “They only moved up to Division I two years ago, so to be a part of the class that really establishes them as a contender in the conference would be really special.

“The end goal is to hopefully do well enough that I get a chance to play professionally whether overseas or in the NBA.”

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