Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports might be best known for his tweets of “This is March” around tournament time, but his timeline provided entertainment of a different variety on Wednesday. Rothstein was in Ann Arbor to visit with Michigan basketball ahead of the start of the Juwan Howard era and he shared some of his takeaways throughout the day.
Greetings from Ann Arbor. Here to visit at Michigan. Year One of the Juwan Howard era. pic.twitter.com/fjFTXpotFw— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 25, 2019
We are not quite sure what this program is going to look like just yet under Howard or what his offensive and defensive philosophies are, but Rothstein shared that he believes that teams are not going to expect the lack of proven wing scoring early on this season, something he believes that Howard and his staff will focus on throughout the fall.
“With Michigan’s lack of returning offense on the wings, one would expect opponents to test them with large chunks of zone early,” he said. “Zone offense could be a big focal point for Juwan Howard in the preseason.”
The Wolverines lost a lot on the wing from last season with Jordan Poole, Charles Matthews and Ignas Brazdeikis all leaving the program to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. That void could be filled by a familiar name in freshman Franz Wagner, brother of Moritz Wagner, who is already drawing high praise from the Michigan coaching staff.
Palpable Buzz in Ann Arbor surrounding Michigan freshman Franz Wagner. Staff raves about his IQ and overall feel. Will have a big piece of the pie in 19-20.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 25, 2019
We know that the Wolverines boast a very solid big three currently with Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers and Jon Teske, but Rothstein shared the guys that could emerge to truly make this a team to watch heading into this season as it pertains to the Big Ten hunt.
“Michigan needs two out of these four guys --- Franz Wagner, Eli Brooks, David DeJulius, & Brandon Johns --- to emerge as consistent Big Ten players,” he tweeted. “If that happens, Wolverines should be in NCAA picture in 2020.”
As far as an prediction on Michigan’s starting five:
Point Guard: Zavier Simpson
Shooting Guard: Eli Brooks
Small Forward: Franz Wagner
Power Forward: Isaiah Livers
Center: Jon Teske
There's not many players in college basketball more valuable to their own team as Zavier Simpson is to Michigan.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 25, 2019
Do everything PG is a combined 63-15 over the past two years as a starter.
Elite Glue Guy.
Michigan will open the season with an exhibition on Nov. 1 against Saginaw Valley State before the regular season kicks off on Nov. 5 with a home opener at Crisler Center against Appalachian State.
We will hear from Howard, as well as Simpson, Teske and Livers next week in Chicago for Big Ten basketball media day. Maize n Brew will be on hand for coverage throughout.