Juwan Howard made a name for himself performing at the highest levels and on the biggest stages. As a member of Michigan’s Fab Five, Howard was widely regarded as an integral part of their success and often served as the voice of reason among the group - in addition to being a force on the floor. After his first season in the NBA with the Washington Bullets, Howard became the first player in NBA history to sign a $100 million contract. In total, Howard spent 25 years in the league as both a player and an assistant coach - during which time he was selected as an NBA All-Star (1996) and won two NBA Championships with the Miami Heat (2012, 2013).
Generally speaking, those are the things that most people knew about Juwan Howard before coming back home to Ann Arbor to coach the Michigan Wolverines basketball program. As Michigan prepares for its Sweet Sixteen matchup this weekend against Florida State, the country is getting to know Juwan Howard the coach and, more importantly, Juwan Howard the human being.
While his basketball knowledge is clearly evident, his love for Michigan and his infectious personality is impossible to ignore.
Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico, who is also gearing up for a big time Sweet Sixteen matchup against No. 2 Baylor on Saturday, recently shared her experience with Howard since his arrival in Ann Arbor.
“From the minute he stepped on campus and was named the head coach of our men’s basketball program, he has embraced our team,” Barnes Arico said Thursday during an NCAA conference call with reporters. “He’s front row, and now this year he wasn’t able to because of COVID, but last year he was front row at every one of our games, and I don’t mean just there just to check a box and say I came to support the women but actually invested in our team, I mean, throwing his hands up, Naz scores and he’s fist-bumping, he’s flexing his muscles.”
With the NCAA Tournament on the horizon, Howard made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. Patrick asked him what would happen if each tournament coach had to lace up their shoes and play in the tournament. Howard's answer was on point.
Howard would also make an appearance on the Jalen and Jacoby show shortly before the tournament to discuss a wide range of topics, including his first two years of being a head coach, his outlook on the tournament and whether or not there was any risk that he would bolt Ann Arbor for a coaching job in the NBA. Once again, Howard didn't disappoint.
In a recent interview with the folks over at NBA on TNT, basketball legend and analyst Candace Parker asked Juwan Howard about the difference between participating in the NCAA tournament as a player and as a coach. As is often the case, Howard showed exactly why he is so beloved in Michigan when he gave his answer.
During another recent press conference, Juwan Howard praised the NCAA on the job they are doing with the tournament given the difficult circumstances with COVID-19.
And of course, there's the video of Juwan Howard being officially introduced as the next head coach of the Michigan Basketball team.
The ongoing success of the basketball team has obviously been great for the University of Michigan for a whole host of reasons. Near the top of that list is the fact that the entire country is getting to see just what type of man Juwan Howard is. He's as real as they come, he's kind, he's personable, he's a ferocious competitor and he's committed to developing the young men under his watch (both on and off of the court). Those who have the privilege of working with him in any capacity are always better off for having done so.
As a recruit who's considering options on where to spend their college years playing basketball, it's hard to imagine going anywhere else other than the University of Michigan - so long as Juwan Howard is in town.