Juwan Howard and the Michigan basketball program may have the No. 1 overall incoming freshman class, but much like last offseason, the Wolverines are also eyeing the NCAA transfer portal to add another player to the team.
Former Coastal Carolina guard DeVante’ Jones entered his name into the transfer portal this past week, and it didn’t take long for the Wolverines to express interest. Now, Howard and Jones are set to speak over Zoom early next week, according to Jake Weingarten of Stock Risers. Jones also did a Zoom call with new Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams on Friday.
Jones told 247Sports’ Dushawn London (FREE) the schools who have been on him hard so far include Michigan, Texas and Memphis.
Regarding Michigan, Jones told London, “It’s Juwan Howard so that speaks for itself. I watched them play a lot last year and they did amazing things. They do good at having pro guys and producing pros so that could be a good opportunity for me to learn under Juwan Howard and pick his brain with him being around the NBA for so long. I can definitely see that being a big factor if I did decide to go to Michigan.”
In a recent interview with ESPN, Jones revealed what he is looking for in his future program:
“In my next school, I’m looking to join a winning culture with a loving community,” Jones said. “I’ll only have one year so I just want the chance for a coach to trust in me to put the ball in my hands and trust me to make game-winning plays. But also, I want to be around a group of guys who love the game as much as me, if not more.”
If those are the things he is truly looking for, there may not be a better option out there for him than Michigan. Howard showed his ability to trust a first-year player this past season, as Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown were both relied upon multiple times in crucial situations. And the culture within the Michigan basketball program speaks for itself.
With the departures of Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown this offseason, getting a guy like Jones on board would be huge for Michigan. You have a known commodity at the guard position in Eli Brooks, but after him it’s Zeb Jackson and the incoming true freshmen. So getting another guard with experience could put Michigan over the top once again.
This past season at Coastal Carolina, Jones averaged 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He also made 36.8% of his 3-pointers. Thanks to those numbers, he was awarded Player of the Year in the Sun Belt conference.