Saturday was quite the day for Michigan Wolverines’ sports. In the afternoon, Michigan football beat Penn State, 21-17. The nightcap saw Michigan men’s basketball beat Prairie View A&M, 77-49. The game was played at Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington D.C., the home of the Washington Mystics of the WNBA.
Here’s what Juwan Howard had to say regarding being back in the D.C. area as he played for the Washington Bullets from 1994-2001:
Q: Seeing it come full circle being back as a coach, did you get a chance to experience any of your favorite places or things that you like to do while you were here coming back?
Howard: It’s a blessing. Really, it is. I am so grateful. I look back to getting drafted. It was always my dream to play in the NBA. To come here to D.C. and play for the Bullets in Chocolate City — I’ve always heard so many great things about the city. I came here one time when I was 13 years old and looking back on those days, [I had] some of the great coaches that I got a chance to play for and learn from and some of the great teammates that I enjoyed. There were some hard times together and there were some good times together. The relationships meant the most and I learned from all those relationships and all that experience. Coming back, I didn’t get an opportunity to visit some of my favorite restaurants because this is still a business trip, but I had an opportunity to smell some of that beautiful, fresh air of Washington D.C. and see the Potomac River and look at the beautiful trees and the fall colors changing and see some of the landmarks that I could identify with. Last but not least, we went to the African American museum which was a highlight moment — it was an educational moment — and it was just great to take in that experience and share it with my players.
Howard was then asked some recruiting questions specifically about the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia).
Q: At what point did you determine that you would target the DMV for recruiting?
Howard: Well, this is a place where I started my professional career. [I] spent seven years in the DMV area. I’m a big basketball fan. When you talk about some of the high school athletes that are here in this area, whether it’s D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, there’s a lot of talent. Not only that, they’re really good students, too, and they come from good families. I just loved how throughout the high school level the parody of all the different talent is spread out in different schools and the level of coaching that goes with it and is being taught at those schools whether it be on the court or off the court — I’ve been impressed. I thought it was a no-brainer to go out there and look at a program like DeMatha, Gonzaga, Paul XI, and many others because those coaches that coach at those programs do an amazing job at developing talent.
Hunter Dickinson and Terrance Williams were the first two major recruits Howard was able to pull out of the DMV area with massive success. In next year’s recruiting class, four-star point guard Dug McDaniel hails from Paul XI in Fairfax, Virginia. The DMV has certainly aided the Michigan basketball program as Howard begins to create a pipeline in the area.