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Overlooked Howell taking charge for No. 20 NC State heading into home game with No. 1 Duke

  • bdcc649c35c12b01260f6a706700ae43.jpg

    North Carolina State's Richard Howell (1) and Georgia Tech's Robert Carter (4) reach for the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. North Carolina State won 83-70. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (The Associated Press)

  • fef32bfb35bc2b01260f6a706700ef84.jpg

    North Carolina State's Richard Howell chases a loose ball as Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, right, look back during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. North Carolina State won 83-70. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (The Associated Press)

Richard Howell doesn't mind all the attention going to his more heralded North Carolina State teammates. The senior is focused on ensuring his team meets its potential as an Atlantic Coast Conference contender.

The 6-foot-8 forward is providing interior toughness and relentless rebounding for the No. 20 Wolfpack. Heading into Saturday's home game against top-ranked Duke, Howell doesn't want N.C. State to squander any opportunity to claim the league title it was picked to win in the preseason.

Howell is averaging about 13 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field.

He said he focuses every game on playing "as hard as I could every second I was on the floor."

Duke center Mason Plumlee said the Blue Devils will have to concentrate on boxing out Howell.

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