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Big Dreams, Big Smiles Leon Howard on his way

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As the year comes to an end, so do the many final decisions of many of the seniors around the Nashville area who have had the “Big College Decision” hanging over their head. Don’t misunderstand, our seniors are feeling truly blessed here at Overton, because they have choices and decisions to make. But the relief and sighs are as clear as the spring day we are all due when the pen hits the paper and the decision is “final”.

As May 1st draws near, Overton will have more and more signing days, with many of its Music Performance Students, athletes and academic brightest signing their letters of intent for next fall. Leon Howard opened the spring signing sessions with his commitment ceremony to Columbia State. CCSC

Today, April 14, 2015, Howard signed a basketball contract with Columbia State Community College where he intends to play for Brian Collins, son of Rick Collins a former long time MNPS mens basketket ball who took a Pearl Cohn team to state. Brian Collins has definitely got the coaching gene in his blood, and Howard, who has been touted as a potential coaching prospect as well as a potential player, will have an opportunity to learn from a genealogy of coaching strengths.

brian-collinsCollins, a graduate of Belmont in 2006 played for the NBA developmental leagues and Finland’s Kouvet Bear’s. As a Belmont standout, he recruited players who are strong in many of the same areas as himself. Columbia State has built itself an MNPS pipeline starting with is coaches and assistants (father Rick Collins and Brandon Lockridge former coach MLK 2008 – 2012). 

At the signing held in the Overton auditorium, Howard was surrounded by many friends and family, as well as faculty and staff. The Bobcat Beat staff talked to Leon and some of his friends, family, and teachers about how they feel about him going to Columbia State. Howard took a few minutes to share his thoughts on this important day to himself and his family.

BB:  How do you feel about going to Columbia State?

Howard: I feel good knowing that I’m going to college for free and that my mom doesn’t have to pay for it.

BB: What are your plans for the next four years?
Howard: I plan to be the best person I can be and the best basketball player I can be.

BB: How do you plan on furthering your basketball career?

Howard: Work hard every day. My ultimate goal is to go overseas and see the world and play basketball.

Work hard every day. My ultimate goal is to go overseas and see the world and play basketball”

— Leon Howard, III

BB: How do you feel about being on a championship team?

Leon: Good. That’s the best feeling to know you’re playing with the best team in the conference.

          Coach Brandon Lockridge, from Columbia State, shared his thoughts on why he thinks Leon is great for the team.

BB: What were your interests in Leon?

Coach Lockridge: I’ve watched Leon perform on the court for the past 2 years, and he was doing well. I used to be a high school coach, so I kept up with him. It was good to have a Nashville connection to Columbia State. I know he’ll do great things.

          The Beat asked some of his close friends about their thoughts on him committing. D’Anthony Wilson, Samuael,Takele, and MeMe Graham were all very excited.

BB: How do you feel about Leon signing today?

Wilson: I’m proud of him. My friend is going to college, and that’s great.

Takele: I’m glad he’s signing. A lot of people from Overton don’t get signed. I’m glad he’s furthering his basketball career at a higher level.

Graham: I’m excited for him to continue playing basketball and go to college. Keep up what you’re doing and work hard.

          His family members were more than happy about Leon signing today. His mom, Tiara Taylor said, “Its silent tears of joy that he’s prospering into an adult.” His aunt, Fredicka Morgan, said she was so proud of him and she hopes to see him go far in the future.

          “I’ve been blessed to coach many people since I’ve been here… I think Leon is definitely one of those people,” said his Coach, Richard Campbell. Leon Howard III, his parent’s smiles were as bright his signing day has smooth cool sailing days ahead at  Columbia State Community College.

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Big Dreams, Big Smiles Leon Howard on his way