The Michigan Wolverines figure to be prominent fixtures in many of the conversations surrounding March Madness. That has already included accolades for two of the figures who have had their fingerprints all over the success of the team this season.
Sporting News announced on Tuesday that head coach Juwan Howard has been named the outlet’s 2020-21 Coach of the Year in his second season on the job. Michigan is currently ranked as the No. 4 team in the country after a 19-3 regular season and Big Ten Championship.
“This is a big surprise. A huge surprise. But I’m very appreciative of the award,” Howard told the outlet. “I always told our guys: ‘I want to earn your trust.’ I think they got the chance to get to know me, see how I ran a practice, how passionate I am about teaching and what I had to offer as far as my experience in the basketball world and my knowledge for the game. I think I earned their trust from that. The buy-in has been easy on both levels: players with coaches, coaches with players.”
Freshman center Hunter Dickinson also drew praise from Sporting News, as he was named a second-team All-American. He averaged 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in 22 games this season.
“This hasn’t been the most successful season for college hoops freshmen, and yet here is the No. 43 prospect in the 2020 recruiting class being selected one of the top 10 players in Division I,” they write. “Michigan needed what he had to offer — a talented big man who is fiercely competitive — and Dickinson needed the stage this team provided. He rebounds fiercely and excels at overpowering defenders. In a league of stellar centers, Dickson managed to stand above most everyone.”
Howard, Dickinson and the Wolverines have much bigger aspirations for the season than the individual accolades that are coming in. The team is currently preparing for the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, where Michigan will open Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET against either Maryland or Michigan State.