The Wolverine

August 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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30 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2019 BY CHRIS BALAS J uwan Howard might be play- ing from behind in recruiting the nation's top prep pros- pects, but he doesn't act like it. In his first few months on the job, Michigan's head coach has already re-secured 2019 signee Cole Bajema's pledge, getting him on campus to start school in June, and landed a prized recruit in 2019 German Franz Wagner, who will arrive in Ann Ar- bor this August. Bajema (6-7, 175, Rivals' No. 98 2019 prospect nationally), a Lyn- den (Wash.) Christian product, is an outstanding shooter who is already showing off his range in practices, while Wagner (6-7, 190) is a small forward who might just be the best German prospect his age. Bajema averaged 24.0 points per game and was his state's Class 1A Player of the Year, while Wagner played this year on a dual contract in two German leagues, with Alba Berlin in the BBL and SSV lok Ber- nau Alba in ProB. Both are regarded by as four-star prospects, giving Howard a solid foundation. In addition, Howard re-secured the pledge of Montverde (Fla.) Acad- emy's Zeb Jackson, a huge start to the 2020 class. Jackson (6-3, 165, Ri- vals' No. 53 rising senior nationally) averaged 24.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 3.1 steals per game at Toledo (Ohio) Maumee Valley Coun- try Day last year and has had an out- standing summer. Securing talent to complement them all is Howard's next chal- lenge. national recruit- ing analyst Corey Evans is among those who believes Howard is off to a great start, though there is still a lot of work to do. "I like it. I think they've gone big-fish hunting in a way," Evans said. "They haven't been afraid to go after it, but they actually haven't steered away from many for the guys I thought Michigan would have re- cruited the first time around with John Beilein. I think they're actually recruiting high-level prospects. "Now, it remains to be seen if they can get those guys. It's one thing to recruit them and get some mutual interest; it's another thing to be recip- rocated with a commitment. That's the next phase of how Juwan is not just as a head coach, but as a lead recruiter." Former Fab Fiver Jalen Rose ex-   BASKETBALL RECRUITING OFF AND RUNNING New Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard Is Burning Up The Recruiting Trail After re-securing a pair of prior pledges, one in 2019 (signee Cole Bajema) and one in 2020 (Zeb Jackson), Howard has focused on landing high-level prospects. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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