The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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26 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021 M ichigan was not considered a top-25 team in the preseason, with most picking the Wolverines middle of the pack (at best) in the Big Ten. Instead, U-M won the confer- ence with a 14-3 league record, get- ting the nod over 16-4 Illinois based on winning percentage (.824 to .800), and will hang its first regular-season championship banner since 2013-14. Those accomplishments earned head coach Juwan Howard Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in only his second season on the job. Director of athletics Warde Manuel tabbed the former Michigan standout (1992-94) and Fab Five member to replace John Beilein in 2019 after Beilein opted to take over the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, and the transition has been almost seamless. "I've very excited for him, very happy for him, and I think it's well deserved," Manuel said days after the March 9 announcement. "If I could draw up an outcome for Ju- wan, it is this. I have been so pleased with what he has done, how he has gone about it and how he's con- nected with his staff and student- athletes." Howard becomes the first U-M mentor to win the league's Coach of the Year award since Beilein in 2014 and the fourth in school history to receive the honor, joining Johnny Orr (1974 and 1977), Bill Frieder (1985) and Beilein. Michigan was 20-4 heading into the NCAA Tournament, including 19-3 in regular-season play. How- ard's 40 total wins made him the winningest coach in school history through two seasons on the job, and that was without a full non-confer- ence schedule or the NCAA Tourna- ment included. Michigan rookie center Hunter Dickinson captured the team's other big honor, earning the Big Ten Fresh- man of the Year award after lead- ing the squad in both scoring (14.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.7) through the regular season. He also landed on the media's first-team All-Big Ten squad and made the coaches' second team as well as the All-Defensive team. Dickinson became only the second Michigan freshman ever to earn a spot on the All-Big Ten first team and the first since Mike McGee ac- complished it 43 years ago in 1978. The Alexandria, Va., native is also the eighth Wolverine ever to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the first since forward Ignas Brazdeikis in 2019. Dickinson won seven Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors throughout the regular season. In addition to Howard and Dickin- son's honors, senior forward Isaiah Livers was picked as a unanimous second-team All-Big Ten performer, while sophomore guard Franz Wag- ner was tabbed to the league's sec- ond team by the coaches and the third-team unit by the media. Fifth- year senior forward Austin Davis, meanwhile, won the Wolverines' Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for a sec- ond straight season. Livers' honor came on the heels of 16 double-figure scoring games this season, while he hit the 20-point mark five times. He averaged 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds while con- necting on 44.6 percent of his three- pointers in the regular season. Wagner scored in double figures on 14 separate occasions in the regular season, including four games with at least 20 points, in averaging 12.9 points and 6.3 rebounds. He also notched a team-best 30 steals. MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Juwan Howard And Hunter Dickinson Lead U-M's Postseason Award Contingent Dickinson won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award after leading the team in both scoring (14.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.7) during the regular season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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