The Wolverine

December 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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38 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2022 BY CHRIS BALAS R ecruiting analysis is an inexact sci- ence, no matter the sport. Some "can't miss" prospects do miss, while others aren't given their just due until they arrive on campus. Trey Burke was one. The former Michi- gan point guard was a three-star prospect who became the Naismith Player of the Year in 2013. It appears U-M wing Jett Howard could be another, having gotten off to a great start in his first season with the Wolverines. Head coach Juwan Howard's son, the 6-foot-8 Jett ('s No. 39 prospect in the final 2022 rankings) showed signs he could be elite with 30 points in an exhi- bition win over Ferris State Nov. 4, adding 4 rebounds in only 22 minutes. He went 10-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-8 from 3-point range in the win. The freshman followed up with 21 points in the season opener, a win over Purdue Fort Wayne in which he went 8-for-15 from the field and 5-for-10 on free throws with 5 assists. He notched only 9 points in a win over Eastern Michi- gan but also added 4 assists. "He's been around the game for a long time. He also has a high IQ ," the elder Howard said after the win over Purdue Fort Wayne. "He's a willing passer, he has great size, and he sees the floor. I've seen that from Day 1 when he first started play- ing basketball. "The ball is going to be in his hands. At times, he's going to make some good plays and at times — just like any freshman — you're going to make some mistakes. It might be a turnover because he's trying to make some plays where he may have seen that the guy was open and the defense sort of collapsed quickly, because it's col- lege level. You're going to get some older guys that are bigger, faster and they're active. They also scout you on film like we scout them." But he'll learn and grow, his father added, because he loves the game. Watching his sons play together has been a blessing, he added. There was a play in the season opener in which Jett found his brother, junior Jace Howard, for a 3-pointer from the wing. The head coach remained composed, but he heard his wife, Jenine, going crazy behind him. It was the latest lasting memory in what's already been an incredible ride through three-plus years. It probably won't be the last. "I want this kid to enjoy his college life, man," the Michigan coach said. "I don't want to emphasize that his dad is going to be hard on him, because I'm not. I'm also going to coach him. "You could see that in the first half when there were two or three defensive mistakes. We had to sit him down, let him calm down and let him know the areas where he thought he didn't mess up. … We gave him clarity that he did, and it was great to see that he responded and came back in and played well. He could've done the opposite and been sulking." But that's not how he's wired, he added — a trait he likely got from his fa- ther, as well. His hot start has led some to talk (already) about how long he'll be in Ann Arbor before heading to the NBA. For now, however, he's all about winning at Michigan and enjoying the ride, taking the fans along with him — and his dad. "It's a dream come true, because that's something that never happens every day," Juwan Howard said of coaching his sons. "… It's a blessing." MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Jett Howard Shows The Makings Of A Star In The Early Going Howard, a freshman, posted 21 points in the season opener, a win over Purdue Fort Wayne in which he went 8-for-15 from the field and added 5 assists. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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