LEXINGTON, Ky. – Their senior seasons have not ended but a huge honor has already been handed down to 2017-18 Kentucky women’s basketball signees Rhyne Howard and Blair Green as both players were tabbed 2018 Naismith High School All-America Honorable Mention honorees Monday, March 5. Howard and Green were joined by 28 other high school players on the All-America list from the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The honor joins a list of accolades this season for both signees. Howard and Green were named McDonald’s All-America Game nominees, were both on the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List and are both finalists for their respective state’s Miss Basketball Awards. Howard and Green make up UK’s 2018 signing class, which ranks No. 18 in the nation according to All Star Girls Report.
Last weekend, Howard and Green both had incredible performances to lead their teams to start tournament appearances. After scoring 41 points on 16-of-25 shooting to help Bradley Central win the District 5-AAA championship, Howard scored 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting with six steals, five assists, four rebounds and two blocks in the Region 1-AAA quarterfinal. She helped the Bears clinch the sectional championship with 27 points and 15 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season.
Green’s numbers were just as impressive in last week's 13th Region tournament in Corbin last week, scoring 93 points behind 54 percent shooting in three games. Green started with 23 points and five rebounds against Pineville before 38 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals vs. South Laurel in the semifinals. In the championship against North Laurel, Green had 32 points, six assists, five steals and four rebounds, shooting 12-of-19 from the field. Green and the Lady Bears will be playing in the state tournament this week.
Ranked as the eighth best player overall in the 2018 class according to All-Star Girls Report, Howard is having a great senior season at Bradley Central High School. The athletic combo guard is averaging 22.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 5.4 steals per game and 4.1 assists per game. Howard is shooting 54 percent from the field this season and has scored 721 points to lead Bradley to a 32-0 record.
The native of Cleveland, Tenn., averaged 19.6 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 4.6 steals per game, 3.8 assists per game and 1.2 blocks per game as a junior. She scored 647 points last year for the Bears, hitting 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3. For her efforts, she was named the 2017 TSSAA Class AAA Miss Basketball runner up, was a unanimous District 5 AAA Player of the Year and a Tennessee Sports Writer's Association All-State honoree.
Green, who is ranked as the ninth best wing prospect in the 2018 class according to ESPN.com, has shown her versatility this season averaging 26.0 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. The native of Harlan, Kentucky, is hitting 59.3 percent from the field as a senior and is an impressive 157-of-186 (84.4 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Harlan County High School prospect had an incredible junior season for the Black Bears, averaging 23.1 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game while hitting 53.8 percent from the floor, including 43.8 percent from long range. As a sophomore, Green averaged 18 points per game with eight rebounds per game. The 6-foot guard was named a first-team all-state performer by both the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier-Journal last season after being second-team all-state by both outlets in 2016.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught