Juwan Howard Says He Won't Leave Michigan Despite Interest from NBA Teams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard questions a call as his team played against Ohio State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Juwan Howard wants to build a long-term winner with Michigan.

While ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz reported "many NBA executives feel Howard will be in high demand once again this offseason," the head coach of the Wolverines men's basketball team appeared on Thursday's episode of ESPN's Jalen & Jacoby (h/t Garrett Stepien of 247Sports) and said he is staying with his alma mater:

"I'm in Ann Arbor to stay, baby. I love Michigan, I love my job and I'm enjoying it and this experience. I'm also looking forward to growing each and every year and developing these young men to become the best versions of themselves as a student-athlete.

"This is a dream job for me. I think my passion last year showed how much I appreciate being in this position.

"The NBA, it's a beautiful game. They have great coaches there, amazing, talented players, a beautiful brand. But I enjoyed that experience for 25 years, 19 as a player and six as a coach. I'm going to stay and keep growing with Michigan. Go Blue."

It should come as no surprise the NBA would potentially be interested.

For one, he has found immediate success on a big stage with the Wolverines. This is just his second season as head coach, and the Chicago native has already won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award and the conference regular-season title. The 48-year-old has his team positioned to challenge for a national title as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's tournament.

The Chicago native also has connections to the NBA that go beyond his 19-season playing career.

The 6'9" forward was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat from 2013-19. Miami went to the NBA playoffs three times during that span and advanced to the NBA Finals in his first season as an assistant coach, although it lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

However, it sounds like the NBA will have to wait, which is welcome news for Michigan fans. 

After all, Howard has the No. 1 class in the country for the 2021 recruiting cycle, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The Wolverines figure to be championship contenders for years to come with Howard on the sidelines.