The Wolverine

June-July 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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28 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2020 2 0 2 0 B A S K E T B A L L R E C R U I T I N G I S S U E BY AUSTIN FOX M ontverde (Fla.) Academy four-star shooting guard Zeb Jackson's story is per- haps the most interesting of Michigan's four 2020 prep signees, be- cause he committed to the Maize and Blue when John Beilein was still serv- ing as the head coach in Ann Arbor. Jackson initially pledged to the Wolverines on Oct. 23, 2018, with Beilein's crew fresh off a trip to the national championship the previ- ous April and about to embark on a school-record 17-0 start. There were no signs of the program slowing down any time soon. However, Beilein abruptly de- parted for the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 13, 2019, and Juwan Howard was hired as his successor just nine days later on May 22. Howard was ultimately success- ful in persuading Jackson to uphold his commitment to the Michigan program and reeled in his signature during the early signing period in November. "It was a decision I talked about a lot with Zeb," Montverde Academy assistant coach Rae Miller recalled. "Zeb didn't know Juwan at all, but understood he was a Michigan Man and knew what he represented. Ju- wan and the rest of his staff did an outstanding job of reaching out to Zeb and his family right away, and made it a priority to get to know all of them personally. That really went a long way, and I think was the ultimate rea- son he decided to stick with Michigan. "It was a pretty easy decision for him after that, especially since Juwan had come down to Florida a couple times to see Zeb — that was impor- tant to both him and his family." Miller also revealed that Jackson trekked up to Ann Arbor to spend time with Howard and the Michigan staff soon after that, further solidify- ing the two parties' relationship. Howard has preached about the family atmosphere he is trying to maintain and expand upon at Michi- gan since the day he was hired. Based on what both his current players and incoming ones have said, the coach has held up his end of the bargain so far. Howard's trio of assistants — Phil Martelli, Saddi Washington and Howard Eisley — have also stressed the importance of being a close-knit group during the handful of times A Perfect Fit Zeb Jackson's Bond With Juwan Howard Helped Keep His Commitment To Michigan Jackson was listed as a consensus four-star recruit and ranked among the top 100 prospects nationally by all three major recruiting services. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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