The Wolverine

June-July 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 27 of 67

28 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2021   2021 BASKETBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY CHRIS BALAS Y ears ago, former Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant recounted a story that helped land him a prized recruit. When he first started as Crimson Tide coach, Bryant stum- bled into a restaurant in the Deep South serving southern fare that wasn't for everyone. The owner suggested the coach might not like it, and he was free to leave. "Nonsense," the future legend re- plied — and not only did he call it "the best lunch he ever had," he sent an autographed picture at the propri- etor's request with those same words when the owner found out who he was. Years later, it paid off when the res- taurant owner 's grandson, an elite recruit, initially opted for rival Au- burn. The following day, he switched his pledge to Alabama. "My grandfather told me no grandson of his was going anywhere but Bama," he said, sharing the story of the meeting years earlier. The point, Bryant noted, was to always be kind — not necessarily be- cause it might help on the recruiting trail, but because it's the right thing to do. Fast forward to 2010 in Miami, and the first meeting between Juwan Howard and young Frankie Col- lins. Howard, then with the Miami Heat, took time to talk with the third grader, give some advice and posed for a picture. It was the first of four meetings over the next several years, and Howard was never anything but supportive and kind. "When he started recruiting me, he didn't remember because he meets a lot of people," Henderson (Nev.) Coronado's Collins, now a Michigan signee, said. "Then I sent the pictures throughout our time; by then it was NATURAL BORN LEADER Frankie Collins Has The Makings Of A Future Star At Point Guard Collins had several chance encounters with U-M head coach Juwan Howard growing up and eventually played AAU against his sons with the families becoming friendly, leading Howard to say that coaching him in college was "meant to be." PHOTO BY NICK LUCERO/COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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