After two rounds of questions at Big Ten Media Days, Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard faced the media for one final availability Friday.
One of the more notable storylines for Michigan has come outside of Ann Arbor, as Oregon head coach Dana Altman made his feelings known about wanting the Wolverines to play in Eugene. In his response to Altman’s comments, Howard was equally frank.
“Last that I read in the contract, it states that we don’t owe them a game,” Howard said. “If I recall, I wasn’t here when we signed the contract, I think it was coach Beilein. With our schedule, it was hard to fit that game in this year and then possibly also next year. But that word ‘owe,’ that’s very tricky. Owe.”
This year especially, Michigan basketball is a family affair, with two of Howard’s sons on the team. To Howard, though, he doesn’t see coaching his sons as any different than coaching the other guys on the team.
“The boys know this — I love them unconditionally, they’re always gonna be special in my eyes,” Howard said. “But I’m gonna coach them, and with that there’s gonna be some hard, tough love. Am I coaching them harder than their teammates? Maybe, maybe not, but they’re gonna get coached. Do I expect more from them than their teammates? I expect a lot from all of them because of how we as a staff have developed our culture.”
When given a chance to outline his message to the fanbase at large, Howard emphasized this season being the first without restrictions since the start of the pandemic.
“We’re looking forward to our fanbase being present and supportive throughout the season,” Howard said. “I know Maize Rage is gonna be in the building consistently bringing the energy, we’d love the fans to join in with the Maize Rage energy, and be supportive in a lot of ways. We need everyone to chip in and bring the juice. We need to fill Crisler no matter who we play.”