Enterprise senior Dallas Howell announced last week that he had signed his letter-of-intent to accept a scholarship from the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles.
Howell garnered much interest from a number of Division I programs during his sophomore season, in 2018-2019, and had originally earned offers from schools like UAB and Troy before tearing his ACL following the 2018-2019 season.
Following his injury, Howell said virtually all of those schools stopped communicating with him altogether. That turn of events has placed a sizeable chip on the senior power forward’s shoulder.
“It’s less of a chip and more of a boulder at this point,” Howell emphasized. “It’s been so long and all of those colleges that were talking to me just stopped talking. I’ve been fighting to get back to show them I can still go.”
CSI has been historically considered one of the top junior college basketball programs in the country holding the most wins of any JUCO program along with three national championships.
Additionally, 100s of CSI players have gone on to play at Division I schools and a number of others have gone on to NBA careers. Notable CSI players include former Los Angeles Lakers Tony Bobbitt and Smush Parker, former Philadelphia 76er Pierre Jackson, former Utah Jazz player Carrick Felix and current Alabama star Ar’Mond Davis.
According to the school, CSI is the winningest basketball program in National Junior College Athletic Association history posting a 1,505-103 record in the school’s history. CSI has not lost more than nine games since 2012 and was NJCAA runner-up in the 2017-2018 season.
All of that success played into Howell’s decision but even more was the way he was treated on a visit to the school earlier this month.
“When we went on a visit up there it was just one of the best family atmospheres I’ve ever felt,” Howell said. “They have a student section in the arena there but it’s more like all of the player’s families than anything.
“They announced I was there at halftime and I had like 10 families come up to me and welcomed me to CSI. It was so cool and it’s so beautiful up there. I just loved the atmosphere.”
Howell – who averaged 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds as a junior – was an all-state selection following the 2018-2019 season and is a two-time Southeast Sun/Daleville Sun-Courier Male Basketball Player of the Year. Despite missing much of the first half of the 2019-2020 season he earned All-Tournament honors in the Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic in December.
Enterprise coach Rhett Harrelson said that he was proud to see all of Howell’s hard work pay off.
“I’m super proud of him,” Harrelson emphasized. “It’s been a fun process for him and I just know how hard he’s worked – especially after getting hurt – this last nine or 10 months.”
Despite the injury, Harrelson said he believes the sky is the limit for Howell’s potential.
“He works his butt off, so I don’t think there really is a ceiling for him,” he said. “He’s only going to continue to get better and better.
“He has great work ethic, is a great teammate and does all the little things to be a great basketball player. I can’t wait to see him continue to grow the rest of this season and then watch him grow at the next level.”
Howell said that the goal moving forward will be to continue to get better as a player and then hopefully more Division I schools will see that his knee is healthy and he will be able to transfer to a DI school in the future.
“The main goal from this is to be able to boost my recruiting and get a chance to get to a Division I school,” he said. “(The knee) feels great. It gets sore sometimes but in the flow of the game it feels great and I’m really not thinking about it.”
Howell said that having Harrelson with him during the recruitment process was big as Harrelson played in college, as well.
“It was good having someone with me that knew how the process goes,” Howell said.
Harrelson said that he just enjoyed being part of the process.
“I enjoy being a part of it and talking through some things with him,” Harrelson said. “Talking with him on some things he might be going through. It’s just fun for me to be able to be that voice if they have any questions on the process.”
While Howell said that he hadn’t intended on signing with CSI during his visit, when he got there it just felt right.
“That wasn’t the plan at all but after seeing them play and the style they play with, it felt like there was nothing that would make me not want to go there,” he said.
Howell said that signing his letter-of-intent felt like a major weight had been lifted off his shoulders and now he could concentrate on the rest of his senior season.
“Before this it felt like I didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said. “This really felt like it was taking a weight off me.”