Brendan Howard spent his first college basketball season at Eastern Washington. After a redshirt season, he transferred to Montana State-Billings of NCAA Division II.
Now, he's ready for his chance back at the higher level.
"My big thing is I know I can play at that level, and I want to go prove it," Howard said. "I want to prove that I can play at the Division I level."
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Howard has signed his letter of intent with UND to join the Fighting Hawks for his two remaining seasons of eligibility.
Howard, who also had an offer from Idaho State, had a connection to UND with Fighting Hawks assistant Jamie Stevens.
Stevens came to UND with coach Paul Sather in the spring of 2019. Stevens spent one season with Sather at Northern State. Prior to his time in Aberdeen, Stevens was head coach at Montana State-Billings for seven seasons.
Howard's dad is the head boys basketball coach at Great Falls in Montana.
"It was just a good fit," Howard said. "They're a good staff, and I really enjoyed what they had to say. I'm very excited. I think it'll be a great opportunity for me, and I can't wait to get going on it. I think it's a great chance to win and do something big and be able to contribute."
Howard, whose older brother Bobby was a standout player at Montana State, can play anywhere from the Nos. 3-5 spots on the floor after playing mainly at the No. 4 in Billings.
"Brendan combines skill, physicality and 3-point shooting with a lot of toughness and feel for the game," Sather said. "He's a proven scorer and rebounding at the NCAA Division II level, and we feel his qualities will translate really well with our style of play."
Howard, who was limited to just two games in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had a strong career at MSU-Billings, earning multiple conference awards and finishing with over 1,000 points and 300 rebounds.
In those two games this past year, he scored 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in a 92-84 win over Yellowstone Christian College before striking for 24 points on 8-of-14 from the field to go alongside five boards in a 73-56 victory at Rocky Mountain College.
He was named to the All-GNAC Second Team in his last full season, leading the team in scoring and placing second in the conference with 20.3 points per game. Howard also finished second on the Yellowjackets and sixth in the GNAC with 7.1 rebounds per contest while connecting on 50.5 percent of his shots.
His five double-doubles during the 2019-20 season paced MSU-Billings to go alongside his team-best 104 makes from the charity stripe for a .813 clip. Howard's best offensive contest came on Nov. 16 when he scored 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting against Minot State to record one of his 27 games in double figures that year.
In his rookie season, Howard earned GNAC Freshman of the Year and All-GNAC Honorable Mention honors after once again leading the team in scoring and ranking fifth in the league with 15.7 points per game despite only starting seven games.
Prior to his time at MSU-Billings, Howard was one of the most decorated prep players in Montana basketball history, as the Great Falls, Mont., native was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, two-time USA Today All-USA Montana Player of the Year and named Mr. Basketball in Montana.
He scored over 2,000 points in his prep career, becoming the first player to reach that mark at the AA level in the state to exit the program as the top scorer in history. He helped Great Falls High School reach the state tournament on two occasions.
UND's men's basketball roster has undergone an overhaul in the last year, with the departures of Filip Rebraca, Tyree Ihenacho, Seybian Sims and De'Sean Allen-Eikens.
Howard joins an incoming class of six so far. He joins prep guard Paul Bruns of North Sioux City, S.D., prep guard Reid Grant of Johnston, Iowa, prep center Brian Mathews of Chicago, prep center Gavin McGrath of Onalaska, Wis., and junior college guard Matt Norman of Orem, Utah.