The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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AUGUST 2020 THE WOLVERINE 49   BASKETBALL RECRUITING Ron Oliver called "one of the most talented kids I've ever been around" will have no shortage of college coaches calling. He plans to listen to all of them. "A few coaches reached out, and they're all like, 'Are you locked on one school? On Michigan?' Because that's a big question," Howard said. "I always tell them I'm 100 percent open and going to go through the recruiting process like everyone else. "Florida has reached out to me a lot and has shown a lot of interest in the past. Texas, Georgia Tech and LSU, too." There would be dozens more — and probably even more — if he didn't have such strong ties to Michi- gan. Not many elite preps opt to play for someone besides their high-major coach fathers, after all, and Howard admits U-M would be an attractive option even if his father weren't there. The coach in Juwan Howard is al- ways dropping hints to him, Jett ad- mitted — "He'll say, 'Man, you should just commit right now,'" he said with a laugh. But the father in him, Jett added, tells his son to keep his options open until he is ready to decide. "He's a good dad. He's not going to push me to go anywhere I don't want to go, and he's always telling me to keep my options open," he said. "He was a highly recruited prospect, higher than me, so he al- ways feels like it's the right thing to do to get recruited, because you're only recruited once." Howard, a combo guard, is cur- rently 6-7, 180 pounds and still grow- ing. He is unique in that he has some point guard skills in a forward's body, and while his own father projects him as a shooting guard at the next level, he wants to be as versatile as possible. "I liked seeing how Scottie Pippen was pushing the ball in 'The Last Dance' [a recent ESPN documentary on the Chicago Bulls]," he said. "That might not be a bad job. "I've thought a lot about how I'd fit at Michigan. I like how they run the motion offense; everyone is always moving. They are never stagnant on offense, and I like that. I think I'd fit into that offense really well." He will continue to hone his skills at IMG after the tough task of telling Oliver he'd be leaving University af- ter two years. "This summer I'm really working on my left hand. It's a little weak, and I want to start figuring out dif- ferent ways to finish," he said. "I'm focusing on my ball handling, my defense a lot, my quickness. Besides that, I try to keep everything sharp, working on everything to be honest. "I'm really looking forward to the practices. Everybody there is pretty much on a high elite level. [Five-star forward] Jarace Walker and all those guys … it's going to be fun. I just heard we're going to different tour- naments and just schedule Ypsi Prep [with 2022 five-star Emoni Bates]. I'm looking forward to that, too." In the meantime, he will continue to hone his skills. He admits he misses his brother more than he expected but keeps in contact with him every day, and he continues to work out with his strength coach five to six times a week and play ball whenever he can just as he did when his brother was around.'s Corey Evans has seen enough of Howard to know he's got a bright future as he continues to improve. "Jett is a really good-looking pros- pect that brings great size and versa- tility to the floor," Evans said. "I'm not sure that he is great at one thing yet, but the potential he exhibits is much greater compared to a lot of others in his class. "He is a capable shooter but is best as an attacking wing that is a good athlete at the basket. His size and ranginess could give him plenty of value as a defender, as in someone that can slide up or down a spot in the half court. "He continues to grow and has a strong work ethic which should cor- relate to a quality college producer and someone that could potentially play at the next level." Time will tell if his path goes through Ann Arbor or somewhere else, but it's clear U-M has much more than a puncher's chance. ❑ On The Web For regular reports on Michigan basketball recruiting plus videos of U-M commitments and targets visit CLASS OF 2021 NOTES Several previous offers are off the board, having committed to other schools or leaning heavily elsewhere. Among them: • Matthew Cleveland — a 6-6, 190-pound shooting guard from Atlanta Pace Academy and's No. 25 rising senior nationally — chose Florida State July 21 over Michigan, Auburn, Clemson and others. • Max Christie — a 6-5, 180-pound shooting guard from Rolling Meadows (Ill.) High and the No. 17 overall player in the land per — picked Michigan State over Duke in early July. The Wolverines never really made a move with him. • Angelo Brizzi — a 6-4, 170-pound point guard from Warrenton (Va.) Highland and's No. 114 rising senior nationally — was still uncommitted as of July 28, but most believed he was slated to pledge to Villanova sooner than later. In addition, the Michigan coaches have expanded their list of "Plan B" point guards to include Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy's Carter Whitt ('s No. 62 overall prospect in the country) and Henderson (Nev.) Coronado's Frankie Collins (No. 68). Neither has received an offer, but they could if other prospects commit elsewhere. The 6-4 Whitt averaged 22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game at Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road last year before announcing his transfer. Meanwhile, Collins averaged 12.0 points per contest and plays bigger than his listed 6-1 size. There is an excellent chance that four- star Jett Howard — the son of U-M head coach Juwan Howard and the No. 64 overall prospect in the class of 2022 according to — will pick the Wolverines. PHOTO BY GARRETT ELLWOOD/USA BASKETBALL

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