The Wolverine

May 2021 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 25 cess of recruitment, he called us. He called me, he called Ray [Jackson], he called Jalen [Rose], he called Chris [Webber], and he gave us his pitch, being the first signee, of why we should come. "He got it done. That's a little more insight on who he is and how he re- cruits. Being a recruit himself, at 18 years old, and now having all the ex- perience of college and a professional career, of playing and winning cham- pionships, being under Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra for six years with the Miami Heat — it's incredible." It's one thing to have accomplished at a high level. Many have, and then failed as coaches or quickly grew weary of recruiting. That's not in the cards for Michigan's ace, those who know him — or been recruited by him — agree. Freshman All-Big Ten center Hunter Dickinson insisted How- ard sold him early last year, beating UNC's Roy Williams and Gonzaga's Mark Few in the Battle 4 Atlantis. "To be able to beat those teams, and not just beat them, but spank them, was really impressive for me to watch," Dickinson said. "That was a big thing people were telling me in my ear. 'He's a first-year coach. You don't know what kind of system he's going to run, how successful the sys- tem is going to be. As a big man, you don't know how you'll be involved in the offense.' "I really couldn't be more happy with my decision. It's a perfect fit for me." King assures everything Howard says comes from the heart. He then backs it up, from the recruitment of the Fabs to Dickinson and beyond. "He was talking about what's im- portant to him — the family environ- ment, let's create something special, where we can have our own brother- hood, our own family environment," King said of his own Michigan re- cruitment. "That's the same type of philosophy I see him forging and teaching the kids now. "That's why they're successful. They're buying in to it. That's his mainstay. Juwan has always been big on family, big on taking care of your teammates and the extension of your teammates, which is their families. "When you have that trust and re- spect from your players, and you live that, and it permeates everything, and you exemplify that, people fall in line. They believe it. They take it and they incorporate that, and you end up having success like they are." They also have to trust he's in it for the long haul. Howard readily puts his own stamp on that one. On the "Jalen and Jacoby" show re- cently, Howard swatted away Rose's probe regarding a move to the NBA like Dikembe Mutombo on a Geico commercial. "I'm in Ann Arbor to stay, baby!" Howard assured. "I love Michigan. I love my job and I'm enjoying it and this experience. … "This is a dream job for me. I think my passion last year showed how much I appreciate being in this position." That won't change anytime soon, King and Smith assure. "Oh, absolutely," King said. "He meant that. Juwan is not going to mince words. He's not going to say things he doesn't mean. He's very calculating, very meticulous. He meant every word of that." "Oh, I don't think there's any ques- tion," Smith added. "He's here to stay. He is here, he's entrenched. Bought a home. He loves the Univer- sity of Michigan. He loves it so much, his son's here with him. That says a lot, right there." No word on whether freshman guard Jace Howard irons his pants every morning. His dad, however, is pressing on — in determined fashion. ❑ Howard has guided the Wolverines to a 42-17 record (24-13 in the Big Ten) during his two sea- sons in charge of the Michigan men's basketball program. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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