Clarksville, Ark.-Two North Little Rock natives are making their mark on the collegiate basketball level this season.
Ricky Johnson, a 1998 graduate of North Little Rock High School, and Mandrell Howell, a 1999 graduate of Oak Grove High School, both are having impact seasons for NCAA III University of the Ozarks. Both Johnson and Howell hail from North Little Rock and have played a major part in the Eagles current second place standing the American Southwest Conference. Johnson, a 6-1 guard, is averaging 11.8 points per game including hitting two three-pointers per game. Howell, a 6-2 guard, is leading the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game, ranking him in the top fifteen in the ASC. Johnson, the 1999 ASC Freshman of the Year, did not play last season due to a knee injury but has started in all of U of O’s games this year. Johnson’s best game of the season came on January 26 against Mississippi College when he scored a team high 18 points while nailing five three-pointers. Howell earned ASC All-Tournament honors a year ago and has led the team in scoring for eight games this season. Howell had a 30-point outburst against Howard Payne earlier this year. The Eagles (12-8), (5-3) are on pace to make their third consecutive trip to the ASC post-season tournament. Ozarks will play their next home game on February 12 against Austin College.