Butler forward Matt Howard has been named to the 2008-09 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division Men's Basketball Team, chosen by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). He was one of 15 players chosen to the national honor squad, and he was the lone sophomore selected.
A finance major with a 3.727 grade point average, Howard earned second team Academic All-America recognition. He was one of two Horizon League student-athletes selected to the second team, joining Green Bay senior Mike Schachtner. Also named to the second team were senior Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island, junior Yves Mekongo Mbala of La Salle and senior Ryan Schneider of Marist.
Howard, the lone two-year starter on Butler's 23-4 squad, leads the Bulldogs in scoring (14.0), rebounding (7.0), field goal shooting (.542) and blocked shots (1.6). He further leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting, and he ranks second in the league in both blocked shots and offensive rebounds. The 6-8 forward, who was named Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Month for January, is one of 30 players selected as a midseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award, presented to the nation's best player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Howard is the third Butler player to be named Academic All-America in the past two seasons. A. J. Graves was selected to the honor squad in both 2006-07 and 2007-08, while Drew Streicher earned a spot on the Academic All-America team last year.
Senior Brett Winkelman of North Dakota State was tabbed as 2008-09 Academic All-America of the Year, and he headlined the first team, which included senior Jason Holsinger of Evansville, senior Aaron Linn of Gardner-Webb, senior Bryan Mullins of Southern Illinois and senior Alex Ruoff of West Virginia. Selected third team Academic All-America were senior Greg Paulus of Duke, junior Patrick Foley of Columbia, junior David Kool of Western Michigan, senior Andy Wicke of Belmont and graduate student Kevin Lisch of Saint Louis.
To be eligible for the Academic All-America Team, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a grade point average of 3.30 on a 4.00 scale, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Division I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.