Much attention is rightly focused on N.C. State starters Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie, and Scott Wood. Each is at the forefront of ACC players at his position. They also ranked among the top three scorers on the '12 Wolfpack.
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However the other returning starter may be as important as any, even if he largely escapes notice. Richard Howell averaged 9.2 rebounds last season, third in the league but tops among returning players.
And it wasn't just overall rebounds that distinguished the 6-8 forward.
The senior was second in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game (3.65), compared to 3.84 by leader Tyler Zeller of UNC, the league's player of the year.
Howell in fact has amassed more offensive rebounds in his career than all but four modern predecessors at N.C. State. Extend Howell's current career average of 2.69 per outing across 35 games, a likely total for N.C. State in 2012-13, and he'll finish with 355 offensive boards, just short of Kevin Thompson's school record.
Should Howell get better at avoiding personals - he is intent on reducing the reaching fouls he routinely commits far from the basket - he'll doubtless be on the floor more than 27.0 minutes per game. That was worst among his team's starters last season.
With lengthened opportunity would come a heightened rebound rate. That could quickly prove significant: among the program's career leaders Howell is fastest to grab an errant shot on the offensive end.
MAKING THEM HOWELL
|Total||Player, Years||Gms||Per G||Mins||Min Per|
|370||Kevin Thompson, 1990-93||118||3.14||3281||8.87|
|341||Kenny Inge, 1998-01||123||2.77||3553||10.42|
|340||Todd Fuller, 1993-96||115||2.96||3248||9.55|
|270||Damon Thornton, 1997-01||111||2.43||2835||10.50|
|261||Richard Howell, 2010-12||97||2.69||1954||7.49|
|255||Julius Hodge, 2002-05||129||1.98||4258||16.70|
|249||Tom Gugliotta, 1990-93||119||2.09||3287||13.20|