The Wolverine

January 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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56 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2021 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan head coach Juwan How- ard has worked tirelessly on the recruiting trail since his arrival in Ann Arbor, and it's already paid off with some outstanding classes. His 2021 class is's No. 1 in the early going, a group of six players with immense potential in Montverde (Fla.) Academy five-star forward Caleb Houstan (6-8, 200, Ri-'s No. 11 senior nationally), Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four- star forward Moussa Diabate (6-9, 190, No. 29), Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian four-star combo guard Kobe Bufkin (6-4, 175, No. 60), Hen- derson (Nev.) Coronado four-star point guard Frankie Collins (6-1, 175, No. 71), Chicago Simeon four-star wing Isaiah Barnes (6-6, 180, No. 112) and Stewartville (Minn.) High three- star power forward Will Tschetter (6-8, 225, No. 147). Barring a last-minute, unexpected surprise, it's on to the next class, and Howard has already made inroads there as well. He and his staff are looking for another point guard, and five-star Jaden Bradley has made his way to the top of the 2022 wish list as the perfect fit. The Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina last year at Concord (N.C.) Cannon School av- eraged 23.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game as an all-around player who — believe it or not — is a pass-first point guard. Bradley's father, Nate, was an out- standing athlete in his own right, playing football at Rutgers before transferring to Peru State in Nebraska and becoming a Hall of Famer. One son, Nathan Jr., is preparing to head overseas to play professionally, and now he's seen his other son progress to become one of the elite players in the country. The five-star prospect has taken no shortcuts. He's still the same kid who has chores, takes out the trash and earns what he's gets through the work ethic Bradley and his wife, Mialisha, have instilled in him since their son's competitive playing days began many years ago. "He was already playing with the older kids in the third and fourth grade," Nate Bradley recalled. "I re- member one time I was working, my wife called me from a tournament … Jaden had hurt his finger on a Friday, but they had big games Saturday and Sunday. They asked, 'What do you think?' I said, 'Gauge what he thinks and how he feels.'" He wanted to play, and play he did, performing well with one good hand. When Nate got home Saturday, his son's hand had gotten so swollen they finally had to go directly to the hospital. "That was fourth grade," he said, noting that's when he knew his son had special desire. "At that point, for somebody to be that driven … he was just so focused in and knew what he wanted to do." He's only gotten more competi- tive since, continuing his ascent to become one of the nation's top pros- pects regardless of class. He recently transferred to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, where he rooms next to Howard's son, class of 2022 pros- pect Jett Howard, and has become a leader for one of the nation's top programs. It's a strict regimen, including school from 12 to 6:30, plenty of bas- BASKETBALL RECRUITING Juwan Howard And U-M Are Strong With 2022 Point Guards Howard and his staff, whose 2021 haul is currently rated No. 1 in the nation by, are looking to add a top point guard in their 2022 class. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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