The Wolverine

November 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2020 THE WOLVERINE 7 BY AUSTIN FOX M i c h i g a n b a s k e t b a l l coach Juwan Howard met with the media via a Zoom press conference Oct. 7, going in depth on both his personnel and his 2020- 21 squad as a whole. The Wolverines begin practice Oct. 14 and will feature six new scholarship players that were not on last year 's roster. Fortunately, several of the veteran mainstays have emerged as leaders in the wake of the team's overhaul, including senior forward Isaiah Liv- ers, fifth-year senior for- ward Austin Davis, senior guard Eli Brooks and soph- omore guard Franz Wagner "We have guys who have great leadership qualities and lead in different ways," Howard explained. "I can always look at guys like Isaiah Livers, Austin Davis, Eli Brooks and Franz Wag- ner. They all have great qualities, and we have no shortage of leaders within the group." Howard included Michigan's two veteran transfers — fifth-year senior point guard Mike Smith (Columbia) and senior guard Chaundee Brown (Wake Forest) — in the leadership discussion as well. Smith started 90 games for the Lions over the last four years, while Brown earned the starting nod in 74 contests over the past three seasons in the rugged ACC. Smith will be allowed to play in 2020-21 as a graduate transfer, but Brown's status has not yet been determined. "The waiver process will be submitted very soon," the U-M head man revealed. "He has an amazing personality and is fun to be around. Chaundee is also a competitor and has shown that by playing in the ACC for three years. He fits the Michigan culture and checks all the boxes." Brown averaged 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last year for the Demon Deacons, and would provide a significant boost to Michigan's primarily inexperienced backcourt if he's allowed to play. The club's main scoring options are expected to be Livers and Wagner, who av- eraged 12.9 and 11.6 points per game last year, respec- tively. "Isaiah always showed throughout the [NBA Draft] process he has nothing but love for the University of Michigan," Howard said. "This team was happy to see that he made the best decision moving forward for his future. "We're going to need Franz as we did last year. He's not the type of guy who looks ahead or any- thing like that. He's locked in on the moment. Just watch his growth. We ex- pect big things from him, and we're expecting big things from all his team- mates as well." Michigan will also rely on contributions from its four- man freshman class, with the crop having finished as the No. 18 haul nationally and No. 3 in the Big Ten. Rookie Hunter Dickinson was the headliner as the No. 40 overall player in the nation, and is viewed by many as the favorite to earn Michigan's starting center job. "I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to coach him," Howard noted. "Hunter came from a great high school program in DeMatha [in Hyattsville, Md.], and had a lot of success at that level and in travel ball." The U-M coach added that Dickinson has a high IQ and "just knows how to play the game." When the second-year mentor will have the opportu- nity to coach Dickinson and his teammates in live game action, however, remains up in the air. "There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of informa- tion that changes daily," he revealed while discussing the Wolverines' upcoming schedule. "I'm not in the position yet to say what our plans are, or if they're final. We're still working out some things and hopefully will have some news to share soon." ❑ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Juwan Howard Previews The 2020-21 Season Howard's first team at Michigan went 19-12 in the regular season, including a 10-10 mark in the Big Ten, before the postseason was can- celed due to COVID-19. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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