Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines saw their season come to an end on Thursday in San Antonio in the Sweet 16 with a tough 63-55 loss to the Villanova Wildcats. In many ways the young Wolverines overachieved this season and showed great resiliency amidst a storm.
That storm involved head coach Howard who was suspended for the final five games after he got into an altercation with a Wisconsin assistant about a month ago.
Following the unfortunate incident many called for Howard to be fired, but LeBron James didn’t see it that way and reached out to his former NBA teammate in Miami to let him know he had his support. For Howard that meant a lot, considering he didn’t know if he’d get to keep his dream job of leading his alma mater.
Howard talked about that at length on the “Rich Eisen Show.”
“Bron has been one of my biggest supporters. When I was out for those two weeks, he reached out to me and let me know how much he supports me and how he wants me to come out and be a better person for this. That meant so much, man, just to know that your brother is cheering you on and supporting you through tough times.”
Bron, Wade Have Always Supported Howard
This isn’t the first time Bron has shown his support for Howard as it pertains to him and Michigan. In 2019, when Howard was up for the position James and Dwyane Wade both thought he was the best man for the job. The three won back-to-back titles together as members of the 2012 and 2013 Miami Heat.
As reports spread of the Howard hire, James and Wade tweeted their approval and excitement.
Man WHAT!!!!?? Absolutely the right choice and i hope it becomes a done deal ASAP!! One of my favorite people I’ve ever met at the age of 16 and been around since then. 🙏🏾 https://t.co/hdmF60odnm
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 22, 2019
Bron’s Support Was Icing On The Cake: Fab Five Reconnects During Tourney
The support from James was amazing and vital. But for Howard’s former Fab Five teammates Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Ray Jackson to show up for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tourney was euphoric.
A truly nostalgic moment for thousands of college basketball fans. With only Jimmy King missing, the four former Wolverines rekindled old memories and celebrated Howard’s two upsets over Colorado State and Tennessee.
After years of strife brought on by Webber lying to a grand jury and not owning up to his transgressions, everything is peaches and cream in Ann Arbor.
Webber’s indiscretions as a young college student included receiving impermissible benefits from a well-known booster while at Michigan and then refusing to pay that booster back once Webber struck NBA millions as the second overall pick of the 1992 NBA draft.
The school fired head coach Steve Fisher and erased everything the Fab Five accomplished, including taking the two national runner-up banners out of Crisler Arena.
An overwhelmed Howard told The Athletic about his former teammates’ support.
“It was a beautiful moment to be here and to be with guys that I’ve been in the trenches with, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson,” Howard told the Atlantic.
“To see them out here supporting this team and taking time from their schedules, away from their families, it means a lot. I will never forget this day, and I appreciate all the support. They have been behind the scenes, been in my corner since Day One.”
Howard is one of the better coaches in college basketball and after finishing with the third-ranked recruiting class in 2021 he currently has the eighth-ranked class of 2022.
Expect to see Michigan back in the Sweet 16 next season with aspirations to travel deeper into the NCAA tournament.
Juwan Howard and Chris Webber celebrating after the Michigan win. #FabFive
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 20, 2022
A key decision influencing Michigan’s preseason rankings is the return of center Hunter Dickinson who has the option of turning pro or running it back for his junior season.
He tested the draft waters last season and decided to return to Ann Arbor after not hearing what he wanted from NBA scouts.
The belief is he will forgo his remaining eligibility and turn pro this time around, especially after showing marked improvement on the offensive end of the floor.