Bailey Howell Drive: As appropriate as it gets
You could call him the greatest basketball player in Mississippi State history. You could call him an international basketball Hall of Famer and a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, as well.
Now, you also can call the great Bailey Howell a street.
That’s right. What was formerly Coliseum Drive, the east-west street adjacent to Humphrey Coliseum (or The Hump), is now Bailey Howell Drive. Guys who competed against Howell would tell you to watch out for elbows.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum presented the honor to the MSU Executive Council and it was unanimously approved.
My take: You average 27 points and 17 rebounds for three varsity seasons, you deserve your own highway.
“I can think of nothing more fitting than to name the street which runs in front of our basketball coliseum in honor of one of the very best ever to play the game at Mississippi State, indeed one of the very best ever to play the game of college basketball, Bailey Howell,” Keenum said. “I believe this honor is something the MSU family will deem most appropriate and long overdue.”
Keenum praised Howell as “one who has maintained a lifetime loyalty to his alma mater and to the MSU athletic program.”
Howell was a two-time All-American at State in 1958 and 1959. He was selected first-team All-SEC each of his three varsity seasons at MSU (1957-59).
The Tennessee native is MSU’s second all-time scoring leader with 2,030 career points behind only fellow Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Jeff Malone, who played four varsity seasons. Howell holds all MSU rebounding records, including 1,277 career rebounds.
Howell’s jersey number (No. 52) was retired to the Humphrey Coliseum rafters in 2009, the first Bulldog to be honored in that manner.
After completing his MSU playing days, Howell was the second pick overall (behind Wilt Chamberlain) in the 1959 National Basketball Association draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played 12 seasons in the NBA, was a six-time All-Star and member of two NBA World Championship teams with the Boston Celtics.
Howell was elected into the Naismith (international) Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
A ceremony will be held at a later date to be announced.
Congrats from your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame to Bailey Howell, as fine a person as he was a player — and that’s saying something.