View from the Hilltop: Star’s return can’t rescue Howard

James Daniel, the leading scorer in Division 1 last year, plays for the first time this season

The Howard Bison ended 2016 with a disappointing 67-46 loss at Harvard, which made for a long New Year’s Eve bus ride back to Washington, D.C., from Boston.

But 2017 began with promise.

Senior James Daniel returned to practice after suffering a high ankle sprain in September, which forced last year’s leading scorer in Division I basketball to miss the first 14 games of the season.

Also returning was James Miller, who broke his right hand in the opening minute of the Dec. 7 game against Maryland. In Daniel’s absence, Miller had emerged as the go-to guy for the Bison, scoring 30 points in back-to-back games against Georgetown and American before the injury.

With Daniel and Miller back, Howard went into the Jan. 4 home game against Florida A&M at full strength. For the projected starting five who were picked to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, it was their first chance to play together this season.

Going against a FAMU team that had won only two games, it appeared to be the ideal transitional game for the Bison. But beginning what was essentially a getting-to-know-you period in the middle of the season would prove to be problematic.