The Michigan Wolverines officially have their new head basketball coach — U-M basketball alum Juwan Howard.
The Fab Five member will look to get things back on track after former head coach John Beilein announced he would be leaving the university to become the coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
One of the first orders of business for Howard as the new head coach is to get the ball rolling on recruiting. After 4-star forward Jalen Wilson requested a release from his letter of intent after the Beilein news — and is now reportedly eyeing Kansas and North Carolina — the Wolverines were left with one player in their 2019 class.
That player is 4-star foward Cole Bajema. A solid prospect, but not enough to replace Jordan Poole, Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews. Not even the top player in the 2019 class alone would be enough to replace those three starters from a season ago.
Howard absolutely has to hit the recruiting game hard right out of the gate, and I think it is quite possible for him to do that. However, I don’t think the results will come until the 2020 class.
Let’s be real — the class of 2019 for Michigan will likely not be strong, given how late into the cycle is it. With just one commit and a 50/50 shot with another — Franz Wagner — options are low. It is unfortunate it happened so late in the cycle, but it’s what the Wolverines will have to deal with it.
Before I state my next point, let me just say this is a HUGE shot in the dark and will likely not happen...
With that said...2019 5-star forward Jaden McDaniels is Howard’s cousin. Even though he committed to the University of Washington Tuesday night, his decision is not in ink just yet. If Howard is able to get on the phone with him and convince him to play for his cousin, MAYBE he opens his recruitment up and takes a look at Michigan.
Again, it seems highly unlikely at this point and a huge shot in the dark, but because McDaniels has not signed his LOI yet, who knows what could happen?
Like I said before, I think the class of 2020 will be when we begin to see real recruiting results. Fringe-top 50 4-star guard Zeb Jackson is still on board, which means Howard could get to work and pinpoint the other guys that would work in his system. What his system exactly would be is still to be determined, but I have a hunch it won’t be the same as Beilein’s where he takes 3-stars/unwanted transfers and develops them into good college players (Duncan Robinson, pre-injury Spike Albrecht, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, etc.)
If Howard is looking to get highly ranked guys to play for him, I don’t see how he wouldn’t be able to get some of those guys. Howard is a big name, a former player for the university and a very likable person. Hell, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James gave Howard an endorsement on Twitter before the news was even official.
Much like Penny Hardaway is doing for his alma mater Memphis, I think Howard could recruit at a high level and get elite prospects to buy in to the program. It may take some time, but Howard has everything he needs to be a successful recruiter and coach for the University of Michigan.