In the aftermath of No. 11 Michigan upsetting No. 3 Tennessee 76-68, an emotional moment was caught on camera between Michigan head coach Juwan Howard and Tennessee star guard Kenedy Chandler.
Chandler, who had 19 points and nine assists, was teary-eyed and upset that his season just came to an abrupt end — Howard gave Chandler a hug and words of encouragement, and the clip is now going viral.
Michigan HC Juwan Howard embracing Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler: pic.twitter.com/e6r7BoT3RG— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 20, 2022
Speaking with the media after the game, Chandler spoke highly of Howard, someone he’s known for a long time.
“He said to keep my head up. It’s tough for me, and he knew I wanted to get the win,” Chandler said. “I know him, I’ve played with his son since, like, fourth grade. So I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a great coach. I love him. He told me to keep my head up, ‘you played your heart out.’”
Howard was also asked about the exchange with Chandler.
“Kennedy is an elite player, and he’s one of the best guards in the country. I got a chance to know Kennedy back when my youngest son, Jett, and Kennedy played in AAU, and they won the LeBron James tournament in Ohio. So we had a relationship back then,” Howard said. “Just watching his growth, I’ve always been impressed. We recruited him. Unfortunately, we wasn’t that lucky, but to see the output, the effort, the growth, and being able to produce like that on the floor and how he led his team in a special way. I just gave him some words of encouragement. It shows his emotion, that he cares. As coaches, you appreciate that.”
Michigan awaits the winner of Sunday’s Ohio State/Villanova matchup in the Sweet Sixteen.