The attention that comes with five-star status has a way of changing some basketball recruits. Egos get inflated and focus occasionally shifts from team success to individual glory.
Malina Howard is not one of those cautionary tales. The Maryland-bound post player – ESPN.com's top-ranked center in the 2012 class – finished a senior season that saw her earn just about every individual award imaginable. But the No. 1 highlight of Howard's final high school campaign was leading Twinsburg High to its second-straight Ohio Division I title.
"I'm pretty much the same as always," Howard said. "All the accolades and awards, they're an honor. But that's not the important thing; it's bettering myself as a player and making sure I'm able to do great things at the next level."
When she wasn't focusing on her high school team and her studies, Howard paid close attention to the 2011-12 Terps.
"I talked to the coaches a lot – as much as I could," Howard said. "I watched as many of their games as I could. They came to watch my games. I visited there a few times."
Howard said the Maryland staff hasn't spelled out a specific role for her to play in College Park, but with the graduation of center Lynetta Kizer, there seems to be an obvious hole for Howard to fill. The future Terp said she's working hard to be a more "dominant force" in the post and extend her range. Howard said she's "really excited" to put her hard work to practice at Maryland.
"I'm ready to help the team do great things," she said. "Whatever's best for the team, that's what I'm down for."
Name: Malina Howard
Birthdate: Nov. 20, 1993
Birthplace: Warren, Ohio
Hometown: Twinsburg, Ohio
High School: Twinsburg High
Senior statistics: 19 ppg, 10 rpg
Rankings: ESPN.com -- Five-star prospect, No. 7 player nationally, No. 1 center, 97 rating.
Runner-up school: Notre Dame
Other schools considered: Tennessee, Connecticut, Florida State
Favorite pro basketball player: Marissa Coleman
Favorite pro basketball team: Orlando Magic
Favorite all-time Terp: Marissa Coleman
Favorite music: Taylor Swift
Favorite book: The 'Twilight' series
Favorite movie: "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days"
Favorite TV show: "Anything on the Disney Channel. Or 'Law & Order SVU.'"
Favorite food: Lasagna
Favorite high school class: AP Calculus
Favorite thing about College Park: "Just the people, especially the basketball team -- the people I'm going to be around."
Hobbies: "Watching movies. And me and my teammates will go for long runs."
Intended major: Kinesiology
Something that not many people know about you: "I used to be really afraid of the dark. And I can do the worm."
Best basketball moment: "Winning states the past two years."
Role model: "My parents because they always pushed me to be the best that I can and strive for nothing less than what I was able to achieve."
Why Maryland? "I just think that the coaches and the players mesh with my personality well. I felt extremely comfortable in that setting. And the kinesiology program was amazing, as well as the people in the department."