Just a few days after Jalen Rose, Chris Webber and Reggie Miller all said they think Michigan should hire Wolverine alumnus Juwan Howard to be the next head basketball coach, another Fab Five member let his voice be heard.
Over the weekend, Jimmy King spoke with reporters at the third annual ChadTough Foundation’s Champions for Change Gala, which raises money for pediatric brain cancer. During his time talking to the media, Howard and Michigan basketball’s head coaching vacancy were discussed quite a bit.
All while shocking absolutely no one with his opinion, King thinks Howard should be the next head coach.
“I know I’m biased, obviously, but if you look at just his pedigree alone it speaks for itself,” King told The Detroit News’ James Hawkins.
“Aside from him being a former alumni, a Fab Five member and my former teammate and friend, if you set that aside and you look at the pedigree that he has being a high school All-American, being one of the top three players in the country, being part of the Fab Five and leading Michigan to two Final Fours, winning championships at the NBA level, coaching at a high degree, his resume speaks for itself.”
Most of what King said is probably true, but does it really equate to future head coaching success? I am unsure of that, but if that is the case, Howard should be a top candidate for the gig.
One of the most important aspects of being a college coach is the ability to recruit. Michigan lost 2019 4-star forward Jalen Wilson not long after John Beilein announced his departure from the program. He is a top 50 player in America and one that was expected to have a big role next season in Ann Arbor with Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole and Iggy Brazdeikis off to the NBA. Now Michigan’s lone signee in the 2019 class is 4-star Cole Bajema, who is a fringe-top 100 player.
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But if Howard were to get the Michigan job, King thinks recruiting would really take off.
“He’s a great communicator,” King said. “He recruited me, Ray (Jackson), Jalen and Chris and look what he’s done. This would be 2.0, for a lack of a better term, for him to be able to recruit another prominent team and build a program.”
There are a lot of unknowns with Howard since he has never been a head coach at any level. In fact, his coaching experience dates back to 2013 as an assistant with the Miami Heat, the last team he played for during his playing career.
Michigan athletics director Warde Manuel laid out his criteria for what he wants out of his next head coach, and said if he “can get a proven coach, someone with a track record as a head coach, that’s what I’d like to see.”
Well, Howard is still an assistant coach with Miami, so Michigan would not be getting a proven head coach.
Manuel’s other criteria includes strong academics, the ability to coach and teach high character men and drive success. Would Michigan be getting those things if Howard is hired? It is quite possible, and I have no reason to doubt it, especially if former Fab Five members and NBA Hall-of-Famers are in Howard’s corner.