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With Juwan Howard back from suspension what does that mean for Michigan’s NCAA Tournament dreams?
I grew up in a highly competitive family where anything and everything turned into a competition.
Who could carry the most groceries? Which sibling could run to the front door the fastest after getting out of the car?
If there was a way to make a situation competitive, you better believe we would take it there.
Fortunately, I had my fair share of victories. I also had my fair share of defeats. My father was undeniably the slickest, most annoying, backhanded trash talker I knew.
He would often leave me furious. He would shake my hand with a grin, pat me on the back and say, “Maybe next time, Brandon.”
As I would try to storm away upset, he would subtly grab me by the arm or shoulder and make a remark that would pierce my losing wound.
He would send my competitive rage into a boil!
The trash talk came across as polite. It wasn’t. It was a jab. And all I wanted to do was throw hands; may the best man win.
Luckily, that never happened, or I wouldn’t be writing this blog. This memory came to mind as I observed the shocking incident between Juwan Howard and the Wisconsin coaching staff.
I instantly knew what triggered that moment.
Howard just witnessed his team lose in a lopsided fashion. Wisconsin decided not to play the gentleman’s way and let the clock run. Instead, they called multiple timeouts, making adjustments to drag out the win.
You have to believe Howard took that as a personal shot towards him and his team.
The defeat wasn’t enough for Wisconsin’s head coach, Greg Gard. He took out a page from my father’s handbook of trash talk and made an already tense situation reach a boiling point.
Juwan Howard and Greg Gard
As the interaction between Howard and Gard unfolded, it became apparent things weren’t going to end well. This was an intense game, with one team exerting its dominance and rubbing it in the opponent’s face.
The last thing Howard, the ultimate competitor, needed was a subtle jab from the opposing head coach.
We don’t know what Gard said. I know from experience that slight lean into Howard’s ear wasn’t an exchange of pleasantries. It was an all too familiar “Maybe next time, Juwan.”
After a five-game suspension, tempers have calmed. But, you better believe the fire is raging inside. Howard has become the national media’s punching bag and was the only party reprimanded from the incident.
The Michigan team, recruits, and fans showed their support on social media with #FreeJuwan posts while Howard remained calm through the storm.
This is the Juwan Howard we love! From a beloved member of the legendary Fab Five to Michigan head coach. Nobody loves Michigan as much as he does. We should fully expect him and his team to be ready for anybody who steps in their way.
The Fab Five
The Wolverines enter the B1G tournament as the #8 seed. They will face the #9 seeded Indiana Hoosiers Thursday, March 10th at 11:30 AM (ET). With tournament hopes on the line, Howard & Co. are more than primed to make a significant push in the postseason.
This Wolverine team has had an up and down season but seems to be peaking at the right time. Led by All American Hunter Dickinson, they have the talent to make a serious run.
They embody their head coach’s competitive spirit, tenacious grit and fiery motivation. They’ll stand toe to toe with any opponent willing to go blow for blow until the final buzzer sounds.
We should all buckle up our seat belts and prepare for a dog fight. Juwan is back! Don’t be surprised if they “Shock The World!”.