Juwan Howard is in the spotlight more than a lot of first-time college basketball coaches as he takes over the University of Michigan. Unfortunately, that comes with a few bumps along the way and things he has to learn. On Monday, he briefly slipped and committed a minor NCAA violation during his press conference ahead of the Appalachian State game that opens the 2019-20 season on Tuesday night.
Howard was asked a question by a reporter about how he is adjusting to the recruiting process and, without being baited, mentioned the names of three blue-chip targets that the Wolverines are still working on.
Under NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to publicly comment on unsigned recruits or transfer players.
This is how the full exchange went down for those seeking context from Monday’s comments.
Reporter: “I know in the past you spoke a lot about the adjustment required in recruiting. I’m curious how that transition has gone with the early signing period approaching?”
Howard: “It’s been good. We’re still grinding, plugging away. There are some guys out there who we’ve offered to and we’re in the running. Hunter Dickinson is one. Moses Moody is the other. Nimari Burnett — oops, I don’t know if I should be mentioning...”
U-M spokesperson: “You should not. You can’t mention recruits.”
Howard: “Aw shucks. You see that’s one of the NCAA rules I have to really get to understand and learn throughout this process. That’s a part of the college coaching that’s different from the NBA coaching but no excuses. I will learn these rules.”
According to NCAA rules, this falls under a Level III/secondary violation with a punishment that could see a fine to the school ranging from $500 to $5,000 and public reprimand. If Michigan self-reports the violation, they may not be punished for it. Michigan’s compliance office was notified quickly after the comments were made, so they are seeking to get out in front of it.
Burnett, Moody and Dickinson have all been linked to the Wolverines for the class of 2020 and have taken official visits to the school. Burnett is a five-star guard, while Moody and Dickinson are both four-star prospects. The Wolverines currently lead the 247Sports Crystal Ball picks for Dickinson, who would fill a need as a center recruit.
If you were wondering who Howard was going after hard on the trail right now, confirmation came from his lips on Monday, if nothing else. Such is the life of a coach still learning the rules.
Michigan’s opening game against Appalachian State tips off at 7 p.m. from Crisler Center on Tuesday and will be broadcast via Big Ten Network.