Will Juwan Howard Leave Michigan Basketball For NBA After Caleb Love Decommitment?
The unexpected announcement of Caleb Love’s decommitment from the Michigan Wolverines sent shockwaves through the college basketball world. Michigan, already navigating tumultuous waters following the departure of star center Hunter Dickinson, now faces another major setback. Amid these challenges, murmurs around head coach Juwan Howard’s potential transition to the NBA are intensifying. Could we see Howard make the leap back to the pros?
Juwan Howard Eyeing NBA Role?
In recent times, Howard’s name has been a staple in NBA coaching discussions. The head coaching job at the Detroit Pistons, just a stone’s throw away from Michigan, was reportedly a strong possibility, but there are no fewer than five head coaching vacancies in the league right now. Howard’s NBA connections and respect within the league, coupled with the departure of his youngest son, Jett Howard, to the NBA, make the potential shift seem plausible.
Despite Howard’s deep college basketball ties to the Wolverines, the recent changes on the team might make an NBA position more appealing. This departure, however, wouldn’t come without a cost; Howard’s buyout for leaving Michigan stands at $1.5 million. Nonetheless, such a sum wouldn’t deter an NBA franchise with its eyes set on the successful college coach.
Michigan Lose Dickinson and Love
Caleb Love’s decision to reopen his recruitment after his initial transfer from North Carolina to Michigan was a considerable blow. As a leading scorer for the Tar Heels last season, Love was a beacon of hope for a team already dealing with significant losses. His surprise decommitment, which is down to an admissions issue, leaves the Wolverines’ roster undeniably thin, and questions about Howard’s ability to salvage the upcoming season are looming.
Michigan's admissions criteria/process has now led to the Wolverines losing Terrence Shannon Jr. and Caleb Love in back-to-back offseasons. Juwan Howard cannot be thrilled.
— Hilltop Hoops (@HilltopHoops_) May 17, 2023
Given the loss of top performers like Kobe Bufkin, Jett Howard, and Hunter Dickinson, Love’s anticipated arrival at Michigan was seen as a lifeline. His impressive scoring record at North Carolina, coupled with a solid junior season, hinted at the potential for significant contributions to the Wolverines.
However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Howard’s team throughout the season. Despite boasting considerable talent, Michigan has exhibited stark inconsistency, contributing to a disappointing 17-15 record. Failure to effectively address key game aspects, coupled with apparent lapses in effort, have painted the picture of a team struggling to meet expectations.
In his defense, Howard maintains that his team competed valiantly throughout the season. Yet, the question lingers: is he ready to face another potentially challenging season with the Wolverines, or will the NBA come calling?
Howard to Follow Beilein Blueprint?
In 2019, we saw John Beilein leave the Wolverines for the Cleveland Cavaliers amid similar frustrations. Howard’s situation isn’t too dissimilar. With his NBA credentials, he could find himself in a more favourable position to negotiate a shift to the pros.
Undeniably, Michigan holds a special place in Howard’s heart, as he is an alumnus and has led the Wolverines through successful seasons. Yet, with his youngest son venturing into the NBA and his team’s roster looking increasingly thin, he may be contemplating a change of scenery.
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