Here's What I'm Thinking...Juwan Howard As A Recruiter
As soon as Juwan Howard was hired, I thought for sure that he'd be a good recruiter.
He obviously has a presence at 6-9 and has always been a very sharp dude in terms of how he looks and conducts himself. He is the founding member of the Fab Five as the first from the famous group to commit to Michigan. He was the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft, was the first player to ever sign a $100 million contract and played in the league for 19 years. He gained the respect of guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade en route to two NBA titles and then went on to coach alongside Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra with the Miami Heat. In the world of basketball, he's done it all. A resumé like that speaks for itself when a coach sits down in a living room with prospects and parents.
Then you have how genuine he is and was during his introductory press conference. Reactions and emotions like that can't be faked. He's real, a little raw and, in the best way possible, just one of the guys. His coaching chops probably aren't on the level of several coaches in the Big Ten, but he laps a lot of them in several other areas that are just as, if not more, important.
Those kinds of traits make for dynamic recruiters and Howard is proving that he's just that. In just eight months on the job, Howard has managed to land several top prospects, giving Michigan the No. 4 overall class in the country and top haul in the Big Ten.
Four-star point guard Zeb Jackson is the No. 61 overall player in the country and is signed. He was already committed when Howard was hired and decided to stay on.
Since mid-October, Howard has landed three studs and another may be on the way. The No. 12 player in the country, five-star power forward Isaiah Todd is in the fold but may play overseas instead of at Michigan — time will tell. Four-star center Hunter Dickinson checks in at No. 34 in the country and will probably step in from day one as Jon Teske's replacement. Most recently, four-star forward Terrance Williams, who is No. 85 overall nationally, pledged to the Wolverines after backing off of his commitment to Georgetown. Finally, five-star shooting guard Josh Christopher, who is one spot ahead of Todd at No. 11, might be leaning toward the Wolverines, which would give Howard an absolutely nasty haul in his first year at the helm.
I knew Howard would be a good recruiter, but I didn't know he'd be this good. After seeing him in person many times at different press conferences, however, I'm not at all surprised.
I witnessed Howard welcome 247Sports's Josh Henschke back after battling an illness. I laughed as Howard went back and forth with Michigan student and Michigan Daily writer Daniel Dash about what he had for lunch. Most recently, I grinned big after Howard told my obviously-pregnant wife congratulations, which was accompanied by a subtle smile and "beautiful" as he exited a press conference.
These are all examples of what being "real" is all about. These are the reasons why Howard is winning over talented prospects and parents. Only it's not actually "winning someone over" with Howard. He says what he means and means what he says. If he can start turning some close losses into wins on the court, he'll continue to crush it on the recruiting trail and could take Michigan basketball to heights not even John Beilein could, which is really saying something.
What impressed you most about Juwan Howard? Where would you like to see him improve? Comment below!!!