After spending his first two professional seasons in Denver with the Nuggets, guard Markus Howard headed overseas this past offseason, joining Spanish team Baskonia. While he’s enjoying his time in Europe so far, Howard told Bojan Brezovac of Mozzart Sport that his goal is to eventually make it back to the NBA.
“The NBA is my dream and my ultimate goal is to return to the NBA,” Howard said, per a translation (hat tip to Eurohoops). “And that’s possible if I fully commit to my duties in Baskonia, which has shown me that is a great organization that wants to compete for titles.”
Howard, 23, appeared in 68 games across two seasons in Denver, averaging 3.4 PPG on .382/.341/.844 shooting in 5.6 minutes per contest. He spent both years on a two-way contract and reportedly had two-way opportunities in the NBA this past summer, but opted for more guaranteed money with Baskonia.
Through five EuroLeague contests, Howard has been one of the league’s top scorers, averaging 18.2 points per game, including back-to-back 30-point performances against KK Partizan and Crvena Zvezda. Only former NBA guard Mike James and draft-and-stash prospects Sasha Vezenkov and Vasilije Micic have higher scoring averages in the early part of the season.
Howard told Brezovac that he had conversations with teammates and EuroLeague veterans before committing to Baskonia, ultimately determining that the Spanish team would be “ideal” for his development.
“I look up to guys like Mike James, Lorenzo Brown, and I had a long conversation with one of the best players who played in Europe — Facundo Campazzo,” Howard said. “He is an example of how someone can play in Europe with great success. I came to learn from the more experienced players and to find a way to help the team. I don’t just look at myself and my numbers, I’m interested in winning.”
Howard reportedly signed a two-year contract with Baskonia. It’s unclear if his deal includes an NBA opt-out clause after the first season.