Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Marquette's Markus Howard leading NCAA in scoring, fellow athletes to Christ

Marquette guard Markus Howard enjoyed a fine season in 2018-19, earning Big East Player of the Year and consensus All-American honors. He averaged 25.0 points a game and shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range.

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Now a senior after forgoing the NBA draft, Howard is the NCAA’s leading scorer through the first month of the 2019-20 season. He’s averaging 26.0 points through six games, including a 40-point effort last Thursday and a 51-point showing the next night. That made him just the third major conference player in NCAA history to record 50-plus point games in three consecutive seasons, joining Wayman Tisdale (Oklahoma, 1982-85) and Pete Maravich (LSU, 1967-70).

Furthermore, Howard became the first player in Big East Conference history with 40 points in consecutive games, and the fourth in major conference history.

But throughout his college career, Howard has caught attention for more than his ability to rack up points — there’s also the outspoken attention he brings to his faith. After he became his school’s all-time leading scorer in the team’s 2019-20 home opener, he said, “First and foremost, it wouldn’t be possible without God. (I’m) so thankful for all that He’s blessed me with.”

Howard says his jersey number “0” is a reminder he’s nothing without God. He has tattoos of Bible passages on his arms (Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13.). And between Howard’s sophomore and junior seasons at Marquette, he made the decision to go on a missions trip to Costa Rica. Upon his return, he helped to start the first FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) chapter on campus.

“Going out and trying to get people interested in the concept of coming to something that’s new … at Marquette is really cool,” Howard told the Marquette Wire. “Anybody that can be touched by God through anything that we’re doing is something we really look forward to.”

Marquette men’s basketball associate head coach Stan Johnson, one of Howard’s mentors in his faith, was recently invited to be a guest speaker, and spoke about the importance of purpose in life. The talk influenced Howard to think about his own purpose.

“Part of my purpose is to help people through the game, but also help them bring themselves to God. In my life, God’s given me so much,” Howard said. “For me to fulfill my purpose, I feel to use basketball as a vehicle to bring people closer to God is definitely what I think I’m on this earth to do.”

Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski knows he won’t have much more time with Howard, and he told reporters at the team’s media day that he’s seeing Howard leave a legacy beyond his scoring output on the court.

“The thing I’ll remember and appreciate the most about Markus … is he embodies the total person of what I want, while I’m at Marquette, our players to be like,” Wojciechowski said. “He’s an outstanding student, he’s engaged in the community, he uses his platform to make our community better and he represents himself on the basketball court as a player in the finest possible manner.”

Howard and Marquette (5-2) continue their season Wednesday night at home against Jacksonville.

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