The Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team have been scorching hot to this point in the season. Their record currently stands at 15-1 and they’re the No. 3 team in the nation. Head coach Juwan Howard is a coach of the year candidate. Things are going well in Ann Arbor.
Before Howard made his way back to his alma mater and was named head coach at Michigan, he carved out a legacy for the Miami Heat as a coach and player where he gained the respect and trust of the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ (Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh).
In a conversation on the Locker Room app, former Michigan forward Anthony Wright caught up with the Heat’s Udonis Haslem and Kelly Olynyk and asked about Howard’s impact on the Heat franchise. They gave context into the past as well as both explaining what has made Howard successful at Michigan.
“What made him such a great coach and I think what has translated over to Michigan just Juwan’s passion for the game is so strong. He’s just somebody who loves the game of basketball. That’s why he does what he does.It’s not for anything outside of that. It’s not fame or money or anything like that,” Heat center Kelly Olynyk said. “He just genuinely loves the game of basketball and wants to help other people and achieve their dreams, and achieve things he’s gotten to do in his life. His genuine giving personality and just love and passion for the game is making him so successful at what he does now.”
Howard was a player on the Heat from 2010-2013, winning two NBA titles. After Howard’s playing career was through he was an assistant for Miami from 2013-19. Haslem played for the Heat during Howard’s entire time with the franchise, and knows the type of person he is in the locker room, and off the court. “You don’t have very many guys who impact the locker room and the coaching staff,” Haslem said. “He was also a guy who was able to be very, very up-front honest and vocal when it came to dealing with our superstars. You know, sometimes you can’t always speak to superstars like Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James, but those guys had the utmost respect for Juwan. And how could you not? All of us knew about the Fab Five and the success that he’s not only on the basketball court but off the court as well. We had this respect of his as a man. In his community he has done great things such as going back to Chicago. When you look at Juwan as a player, a person and a coach, he checks all of the boxes,” Haslem said. “For us, he’s not only someone who is a role model, but as a postive African-American role model. You know what I’m saying? If you’re going to do it, do it like him.”
Haslem said that all the success Howard is having at Michigan is no surprise to him. What’s ironic about it not being a surprise to Haslem is the fact that a lot of folks doubted Howard when he came to Michigan, a fact that Howard still uses as motivation to this day. “Yeah, I hear the doubters. I’m not going to sit here and act like I didn’t hear the noise before I got hired and also still to this day I hear the backhand compliments,” Howard said. “Am I competitive? Of course I am.”