Michigan Basketball making up ground with 2020 5-star Jalen Suggs

Targeting five-star recruits has been routine under new Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard and one of the most realistic options is Jalen Suggs.

Ever since Juwan Howard took over as Michigan basketball coach, he has been targeting big-name recruits and when it comes to 2020, that means a litany of five-star offers.

One of those offers has gone out to five-star guard Jalen Suggs, a player that once seemed to be a heavy lean with Gonzaga. Currently, the Bulldogs own all of his crystal ball projections at 247 sports.

Yet, when Suggs spoke to UMHoops ($) this week, he painted a different picture, one that has Michigan basketball right in the mix.

“I don’t really think I have a ranking right now,” Suggs said. “Everybody’s still in the mix. (Michigan) definitely, have come in and been a priority, showed that I’ve been a priority for them.”

He also talked about his affinity for Michigan basketball history, in particular, his interest in the Fab Five, which is certainly relevant with Howard, a former Fab Five member now the head coach. He was also named for former Wolverines star Jalen Rose.

“Michigan and that whole Fab Five — that’s one of my favorite documentaries, one of my favorite teams to watch,” Suggs said to UMHoops ($). “I go back and watch their old film.”

Suggs previously named Minnesota, and Marquette along with Gonzaga as his favorites, however, that was before Howard became the Wolverines head coach. That seems to have gotten Michigan more involved as the same post reported Suggs was one of the first players he reached out to after being hired to replace Beilein.

Undoubtedly, the timing left Michigan behind the 8-ball for the 13th overall player in 2020, as well as the No. 3 combo guard who is from Minneapolis. But since Howard has made his push, it seems to have given the Wolverines a legitimate chance of securing a visit for one of the top prospects available in Big Ten country.

Here’s how Suggs said Howard pitched him according to UMHoops ($):

“Coach Juwan Howard was straight up,” Suggs said. “He said, ‘I just got the job, I understand it’s a little late in your recruitment,’ but he wanted to get things started and be on the right track. Ever since then, we’ve had great conversations. I love — I like the mission that he’s talking about. I love the idea that he’s got for the program. It’s already starting to shape up.”

Those all sound like positive things for Howard and really, given how receptive other five-star recruits have been to his pitch, it’s not surprising. But there is a huge difference between saying a few things and committing.

When it comes to Suggs, just like so many others, the key will be getting him to Ann Arbor for a visit this fall. It sounds like a distinct possibility and if so, the Wolverines have to be considered a serious contender.

As far as how Suggs could fit, it’s hard to say because we know little about the type of offensive system Howard will use. But, Suggs is a dynamic scorer that averaged over 20 points per game and played for Team USA in the 19U World Championships and averaged 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and two assists.

Suggs is a guy that can light it up from deep, while also having the ability to attack the basket. At 6-foot-5, he would be the ideal combo guard for the Wolverines. He could play the two next to Zeb Jackson and if Franz Wagner was still around, a trio of Jackson, Suggs and Wager could be lethal.