The Wolverine

June-July 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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24 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2021   2021 BASKETBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY EJ HOLLAND J uwan Howard was a star at Chicago Vocational before be- coming a legendary member of the Fab Five at Michigan. So now that Howard is U-M's head bas- ketball coach, it's no surprise he's go- ing back to his old stomping grounds to find top talent. A hub for elite hoops recruits, Chicago is home to one of the more intriguing prospects in Michigan's stellar 2021 class — four-star Chicago Simeon wing Isaiah Barnes, Rivals. com's No. 102-ranked recruit nation- ally and a first-team 4A All-State pick by the Associated Press as a senior. Barnes was actually the first player to commit to Howard. The Chicago connection played a big role in Barnes shutting down the process back in June of last year and quickly becom- ing a leader for the Wolverines' class. "A lot of schools were recruiting me, but Coach Howard is the only coach that actually talked to me," Barnes said. "He talked to me every day, and it wasn't just recruiting and basketball. It was a lot about life. He told me he's going to help me on the court and off the court. He's really like a mentor figure. "With him being from Chicago, that connection is already there. When we talked, it was like we al- ready knew each other forever. As a coach, I like how he likes to play fast. I watched a few games, and ev- ery time the ball comes off the rim, he's saying, 'Go, go, run!' He really trusts his players to make decisions in transition. He also has an NBA- style offense." Barnes should be a perfect fit for U-M's offense and will have an op- portunity to be an early contributor for a team coming off a run to the Elite Eight. At 6-7, 180 pounds, Barnes was listed as a guard/forward by Michi- gan but best projects as a small for- ward and even has the skill set to spend some time at power forward. That versatility should serve him well under Howard. "I see myself fitting in really well," Barnes said. "I see myself as a versatile player that can do anything they need me to do. I'm just going to play with my abilities and do anything I can. "[Howard] said I can play so many different positions. Really, I'll just be in a bunch of different spots." WINDY CITY CONNECTION Juwan Howard Returned To Chicago To Land Isaiah Barnes Barnes, a four-star wing from Chicago Simeon, is the No. 102-ranked recruit in the 2021 class by PHOTO BY EJ HOLLAND

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