Juwan Howard has brought a level of stability to the Michigan Wolverines’ men’s basketball program that few could have imagined in the wake of the John Beilein era. What has followed has been two seasons of on-court success with the band mostly intact in the entirety of the operation.
A notable change is taking place, however.
According to a U-M spokesperson, longtime athletic trainer Alex Wong has left the program for a new opportunity. He has joined the US Council for Athletes Health (USCAH) as a Senior Director. Wong had been with the program since 2015 and also worked with the men’s golf team.
Michigan has already hired his replacement in the form of Chris Williams, who joins the program after a stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He will also step in for men’s golf duties like his predecessor.
Before joining U-M, Williams has made stops at Kent State, Florida State, Bradley, and Texas Tech. He went to Ohio State for his undergrad before receiving his Master’s degree from North Carolina State.
Wong is the person players would go to with injuries or treatment throughout the season. He was also instrumental in Michigan’s COVID-related updates.
The Year of the Cade
On Tuesday night, the biggest sports news in the area came in the form of the Detroit Pistons winning the 2021 NBA Draft lottery, giving them their first No. 1 pick since the 1970 season. Oklahoma State freshman guard Cade Cunningham, who many believe is the consensus top prospect, is the early frontrunner to be selected.
Assuming Cunningham does wind up in the state of Michigan, we are hoping this is the start of good times for players with his namesake.
11. Charlotte Hornets - Franz Wagner, F, Michigan
Wagner is a 6’9 German forward who followed in the footsteps of his older brother Moritz Wagner by choosing to play for Michigan. While the elder Wagner entered the draft as a stretch big, the younger Wagner brings more versatility to the court starting with his terrific defense. Wagner has the size to defend at the rim and quickness to switch onto guards, posting a 3.2 percent block rate and 2.3 percent steal rate for the No. 4 unit in the country. Wagner is a sharp help defender who will earn his minutes on that side of the court while his offensive skills develop.
Wagner has good indicators as a shooter — 34 percent from three-point range on 102 attempts; 83.5 percent from the foul line — but it often looked like he lacked confidence in his shot. If he can get more comfortable as a shooter, he should be able to attack closeouts at the NBA level due to his comfort putting the ball on the floor and his developing passing ability. Wagner had a brutal last game for the Wolverines — 1-of-10 shooting in an Elite Eight loss to UCLA — but he has all the makings of a solid NBA role player if his shot improves.
- Everything you need to know about Michigan’s ‘Victors Weekend’ recruiting event (Maize n Brew)
- Michigan exceeded expectations for nation’s no. 2 WR Jalen Brown (The Michigan Insider, $)
- No.1 prospect in 2023 Lebbeus Overton reflects on Michigan offer, talks potential visit to U-M (The Michigan Insider)