The Wolverine

May 2021 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 21 of 67

22 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2021 BY JOHN BORTON T he roommate awoke to the same scene, every day. Through sleepy, unfocused eyes, he'd catch a glimpse of a giant, tending to a task with careful precision. He'd shake his head and ease back onto the pillow. Watching a freshman sensation, a future All-Big Ten per- former, an All-American, NBA All- Star and eventual National College Coach of the Year in action rendered him thoroughly impressed. It rendered Juwan Howard's pants pressed, neatly and with pride. Jannie Mae Howard's grandson wouldn't have it any other way. The grandmother who raised him, who lovingly tucked him into his first bed — a blanket- and pillow- laden dresser drawer — would have beamed with pride over his prepara- tion for freshman classes at the Uni- versity of Michigan. Jimmy King, Howard's team- mate and roommate, just blinked in amazement. "This is no lie," stressed King, har- kening all the way back to the fateful fall of 1991. "Every morning, we had an eight o'clock class, across campus, that we had to walk to. Regardless of what we did the night before — travel, practice, late night doing a paper, whatever — he would get up, and iron and crease his pants and iron his shirt. "Everything was pristine and crisp. I'm talking, every morning. I would look at him and watch him iron his clothes before class as fresh- men. That should tell you a lot about how he prepares, how he goes about his days." Johnny Jones could tell you as well. Will Wade would second the notion. Leonard Hamilton would vouch for Howard's ability to press his advan- tage. Those were the coaches whose seasons Howard and the Wolverines ended on their way to the Elite Eight in the new boss' first crack at the Big Dance. Jannie Mae left this earth the very day Howard committed to play at Michigan. He cried uncontrollably that night, much different tears than PRESSING ON With The Elite Eight Accomplished, Juwan Howard Seeks Higher Ground

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