The Wolverine

February 2020*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 63   COMMITMENT PROFILE To compete on the national stage, many experts say, requires keep- ing great talent "home." While that usually means landing in-state kids, Michigan head coach Juwan Howard took it much more literally in taking a commitment from his son, Jace, a three-star prospect out of Hollywood (Fla.) University. The younger Howard and his en- tire family are moving to Michigan next year after Jace finishes school, at which point the 6-8 power forward will join four-star point guard Zeb Jackson of Montverde (Fla.) Acad- emy, five-star forward Isaiah Todd of Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Acad- emy, four-star forward Terrance Wil- liams of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga and four-star center Hunter Dickin- son of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha on the Wolverines' roster. St. Louis, Northern Illinois and Dayton offered Howard in July, but Brown and Yale emerged as the pri- mary competition for the elite stu- dent in the end. He started hearing from Harvard, VCU, Georgetown, George Mason, Yale and oth- ers after a 17-point, eight-rebound show- ing in his last game at the Nike Peach Jam in South Caro- lina this summer, d u r i n g w h i c h h e scored inside and out. "What stands out is the winning tradi- tion that they have, the culture that has been installed there and how cool and genuine the players and coaches are," Howard said of his decision to play for his father. "I al- ways considered Michigan home." He and his entire family were in the stands when the Wolverines won the Battle for Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas, sweeping Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga to rise to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll. That included his younger brother and current high school teammate, four-star guard Jett Howard, another eventually expected to join his father and brother in Ann Arbor. Howard wanted to get his decision out of the way so he could concen- trate on leading University to a third straight state championship. He an- nounced his decision with a short twit- ter video Jan. 20, tweeting, "I'm com- ing home." #CommittedToTheVictors. Though he's never been Jace's head coach, Juwan Howard has been ac- tive in coaching his son over the years and helped out with his Mac Irvin Fire AAU team two sum- mers ago. Between that and his one- on-one battles with his brother —"He's getting harder and harder to beat," Jace said this summer — it's been a family af- fair when it comes to his development. His father officially offered him last Au- gust, though he made it pretty clear after he got the job that he wanted his son to join him in Ann Arbor. Jace and Jett were in the front row with their mother when Juwan was introduced as the Wolverines' new head coach May 30. "The basketball relationship that we have built throughout my playing career makes me feel very comfort- able with the decision I made," Jace said Jan. 20, the day of his commit- ment. "How much he likes my game and the way that I play big; also, him seeing how much better I can become under his system and playing for him, as well, is a big factor." Juwan compares his son to a Dray- mond Green (Michigan State, Golden State Warriors) type, a player capable of playing a number of positions on both ends of the floor.'s Corey Evans has always referred to him as a "quality, four-year cul- ture guy that is mature beyond his years," noting this is just another good pickup for "one of the hottest programs along the recruiting trail." As of Jan. 21, Michigan ranked No. 4 nationally in 2020 recruiting behind only blue bloods Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina. "What Michigan will get in the younger Howard is a versatile and tough-minded wing that brings a quality body to the floor," Evans said. "He competes with toughness, a high IQ, and can finish through con- tact. He possesses quality tangibles to evolve into a versatile defender." He's also extremely smart, both on and off the court. Ivy League schools started recruiting him at the start of his junior year after he pulled out- standing grades, and an outstanding ACT score only added to the interest. At the end of the day, however, family won out. University head coach Ron Oliver, a former Michigan walk-on, insisted his player would be a great fit with his dad. "He has a knack for being a mag- net to the basketball," Oliver told "Be it rebounding or chasing down loose balls, his energy is contagious." — Chris Balas Jace Howard Is 'Coming Home,' Joining His Dad At Michigan Howard, a Rivals three-star prospect who is also an elite student, has helped Hollywood (Fla.) University win back-to-back state championships. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN Howard on playing for his father "The basketball relation- ship that we have built throughout my playing career makes me feel very comfortable with the decision I made. How much he likes my game and the way that I play big; also, him seeing how much better I can become under his sys- tem and playing for him, as well, is a big factor."

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