The Wolverine

April 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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62 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2020 BY CHRIS BALAS W ith the coronavirus pandemic affecting several nations, sports have appropriately taken a backseat around the globe. That includes re- cruiting, with the NCAA mandating it be put on hold for at least several weeks while the country deals with crisis. Five-star shooting guard Josh Christopher (6-5,'s No. 11 senior nationally) of Lakewood (Ca- lif.) Mayfair even tweeted in early March, "Is the next time I hoop [go- ing to be] college?" The answer, it appears, is yes. Michigan is still one of the schools on his list with Arizona State, UCLA and Missouri, but it remains to be seen how world events affect his timetable. In Ann Arbor, Michigan head coach Juwan Howard added some intrigue to next year's prospects in announc- ing that redshirt junior Austin Davis would be back for a fifth season. That put the Wolverines one over on 13- man scholarship limit with at least a few offers still outstanding: Projected 2020-21 Michigan Basketball Roster (as of March 16): 1. Austin Davis, 6-10, 5th-Sr., C 2. Eli Brooks, 6-1, Sr., PG/SG 3. Isaiah Livers, 6-8, Sr., PF 4. David DeJulius, 6-0, Jr., PG 5. Brandon Johns, 6-8, Jr., PF 6. Colin Castleton, 6-11, Jr., C 7. Adrien Nunez, 6-5, Jr., SG 8. Cole Bajema, 6-7, So., SG 9. Franz Wagner, 6-8, So., SF 10. Zeb Jackson, 6-3, Fr., PG 11. Isaiah Todd, 6-10, Fr., PF 12. Hunter Dickinson, 7-1, Fr., C 13. Terrance Williams, 6-6, Fr., SF 14. Jace Howard, 6-7, Fr., PF Howard wasn't ready to go in depth on how things might shake out after he made the Davis announce- ment. "All I can say is I will not look for- ward to next year, because we still have a season to play," Howard said when asked in early March about the numbers crunch. "I just know Austin Davis will be a part of it. That's all I can tell you right here, all I'm com- fortable saying at this moment." There is almost always attrition, and without speculating on trans- fer candidates, that always seems to happen. It's likely one or two listed above won't be on the roster next season, and perhaps one or two more names that aren't listed will be. Five-star freshman Isaiah Todd,'s No. 14 senior nation- ally out of Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Academy, for one, didn't sign in the early period. While he has said he wants to play at U-M, he has op- tions to play professionally, perhaps overseas (though some have openly surmised that world events could prevent that). Some have even specu- lated that incoming freshman Jace Howard (6-7, three-star) of Hollywood (Fla.) University, Ju- wan's son, could perhaps prep a year. What we do know — Davis will be back, and U-M won't stop its pursuit of Christopher and fellow five-star Greg Brown (6-8, 190,'s No. 8 player nationally) of Austin (Texas) Vandegrift. Michigan is the favorite for the for- mer, a special talent whose dad knew was special when he was only four years old. Like a piano prodigy or any other genius, Christopher simply had "it" when it came to basketball skill, his father, Laron Christopher, said. It became apparent "pretty quickly" after taking the helm of the U-M program that Howard was go- ing to make his son a priority. "Josh was his first offer," Laron Christopher recalled. "He has that passion as a coach that you love. He had it as a player there, now as a coach there, and he's kind of looking for guys with the same grind and passion and grit he has as far as the team is concerned. "He's compiling guys there that want to work and with the same chemistry he had there that was special." Laron Christopher lived through   BASKETBALL RECRUITING The Home Stretch Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair five-star shooting guard Josh Christopher — the nation's No. 11 overall player in the country per — has a top four of Michigan, Arizona State, UCLA and Missouri. PHOTO BY RIVALS.COM

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