Michigan basketball is in the midst of one of the most historic recruiting hauls in the history of the program, and it’s not over yet.
As Juwan Howard sat down to interview for the head coaching position for Michigan basketball, many didn’t want him back in Ann Arbor. The uniformed public bashed him for his relationship to those whose actions led to sanctions and the removal of banners, while others indicated he wasn’t ready as he hadn’t been a head coach before.
Howard had extensive experience as an assistant, however, and it was under a few of the best to ever coach a game. That didn’t matter, without knowing the convoluted NCAA rules and regulations, Juwan would never survive – at least that’s what came from the mouths of the naysayers.
Thirteen games in and Juwan has orchestrated a victory over the current No. 1, and ten total wins to go along with it. The future isn’t bright; you need special sunglasses to peer into it.
And it’s not just his ability to mastermind wins in big games. Juwan knew he weaknesses and surrounded himself with the kinds of people it takes to bring a title back to his alma mater – and I’m not just talking about the coaches.
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John Beilein had unrivaled expertise for developing talent. While John was a good recruiter, when he brought his team to the NCAA tournament, it was a couple of five-stars up against a bench full of future first-round NBA picks that were destined for greatness since 6th grade.
Juwan isn’t as skilled in that area, which is why I called it an unrivaled gift – unrivaled meaning “better than everyone or everything of the same type,” according to the google dictionary.
What Howard does have is the ‘godfather’ Phil Martelli guiding him through the intricate rules while assisting with coaching, and Howard possesses an unrivaled aptitude for recruiting.
How is it unrivaled? Without a championship or even an entire year of head coaching under his belt, Juwan has pulled in the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the country, and it’s on track to be number one.
At the top of the historic haul is Isaiah Todd, who remains a question mark due to rumors he might play a year overseas to earn a little cash before turning pro in 2021.
If he does sign, Todd will be the highest-ranked recruit to commit to Michigan since the rankings started, and if you watch a minute of his tape, you will understand why.
247 sports has Todd as a five-star with a 9959 composite rating and the 12th ranked prospect for his class.
Next on the list is Hunter Dickinson, the 7-foot-2 beast from Maryland that ranks 34th overall and carries a 9867 composite and four-stars. He’s Jon Teske if Teske had bulked up before college but kept his agility and athleticism.
Before Beilein departed for the gig in Cleveland, he had won the pledge from Zeb Jackson, a guard from Ohio with outside shooting range and highlight-reel dunks.
Zebb comes in at 61st nationally with a 9766 composite, and a future likely as the Wolverines next point guard.
The last and most recent commit is a Washington D.C. native and a versatile forward named Terrance Williams. As the 84th ranked player for the 2020 class, Terrance holds a 9663 composite rating, four-stars, and a tenacity around the boards that gives the 6-foot-6 PF the ability to score and rebound despite being undersized.
Completing the haul
Juwan’s son Jace Howard is expected to commit to Michigan later this month. He’s criminally underrated due to an injury that knocked him out of competition last year, but he’s ready to put his stamp on the college basketball landscape under the tutelage of his father.
Have you ever watched someone play basketball and think to yourself: “That man is going to change the game.” That’s Joshua Christopher, a top target for Juwan and his staff.
As it stands, Todd is the highest recruit to commit to Michigan, but that could all change should ‘Jaygup’ – as he’s called – chooses the Wolverines over UCLA. According to Rivals National Basketball Analyst Corey Evans, Ann Arbor is his destination.
Christopher sits one step higher on the national ranking (11th) over Todd and has a 9968 composite and five-stars.
Last but not least is Greg Brown, the highest rank prospect on this list. With a 9973 composite and five-stars, Brown – a Texas native – is ranked 8th in the nation and is expected to commit to Shaka Smart’s Texas squad; however, Howard has come into the picture and – per Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog – Brown will take an official visit to Ann Arbor on February 7th.
I implore you to watch his highlight video below:
It’s been is all-out chaos on the recruiting trail since Juwan got his feet wet with Todd’s commitment, and he hasn’t slowed down with the ‘rapid-fire’ collection of talent.
“I just feel that once one recruit commits, it’s going to be rapid-fire … everyone else will fall in.” Juwan said back in October. “Who’s willing to step in the front line and bet on himself first? I bet on myself first when I stepped in the line and I committed to Michigan. Are you willing to bet on yourself?”
Howard’s desire to succeed has manifested in wins both on the court and off, and even if Todd heads overseas, Juwan’s got all the bases covered with Greg Brown, who would be more than a suitable replacement. However, getting both is certainly the ideal scenario. No matter, Howard has outdone himself already in all aspects as a head coach, and his historic recruiting haul for 2020 is nearing completion. And if this is what he can do in short order, imagine what 2021 and beyond will bring.