Tony Bennet is a really good college coach and former NBA player
OP referred to “elite” former NBA players. Bennett decidedly doesn’t fit into that category. Examples in recent history I can think of are Juwan, Ewing, Penny, Mullins. Generally the idea is these guys can recruit so well because of their name but Juwan is the only one where it actually seems to be working that I can think of.
Juwan has something going for him that others, perhaps, don’t. Juwan has a wonderful personality, he is incredibly humble, he is honest, open, sincere, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He loves Michigan and he loves and understands the kids he coaches. Juwan has done so much, had so much success in basketball, and I would say in life, yet he is just…real.
If I had a son who was being recruited to play Division 1 basketball and Juwan Howard walked into my home and sat on my couch, that would be it. I’d tell my son, if you don’t sign with Juwan you better just pack your bags 'cause you won’t be living here anymore!
I couldn’t disagree with this sentiment more as far as what makes Juwan special. Yes, he is all of the things you stated, but quite frankly none of those things make you a good basketball coach. In your first paragraph you could replace “Juwan” with “Tommy Amaker” and it would still be true. Juwan is special because not only does he foster the family environment that makes kids want to play for him and parents want to send their kids to play for him, he is an AWESOME basketball coach.
I think it’s selling him short to only talk about how much he relates to the kids or how great of a guy he is- those aren’t the characteristics that are allowing the team to consistently generate better looks than their opponent. Or the reason that after every single halftime break our defense adjusts and the other team gets destroyed. This dude is an unbelievable coach.
I think that Silver gets it! In fact, I know that Silver gets it. And–while I think we agree that Coach Howard’s coaching acumen, his Xs and Os nuts-n-bolts prowess, is now undeniable, you’re contradicting yourself when you say you can’t disagree more in your opening sentence, then agree with Silver in the second!
Let’s all agree that Coach Howard represents a formidable array of characteristics that could keep him at the top of the coaching game for a long time to come.
I disagree with his take that those characteristics are what makes Juwan special, not that he has those characteristics. I know silverblue didn’t intend it this way but I think comments like that are somewhat insulting to Juwan because it’s an implication that he’s succeeding due to some sort of hard to define ‘he’s an awesome dude’ factor and ignoring the fact that he seems to be really really good schematically. My whole point is, I’m glad he’s an awesome dude but don’t kid yourself about what separates him from other guys.
Yes! We’ve been having a lot of conversations here about subtle attempts to question Coach Howard’s actual coaching bona fides. I think you’ll find we’re all in agreement with you about it.
Wow! You obviously don’t know me, do you! As a long time coach, 67 sports seasons, 29 of which were in basketball, I DO know a thing or two about coaching. I am one of Juwan’s BIGGEST supporters.
I don’t know if you meant to be offensive to me, perhaps not, but I DID take your comment that way. Maybe I’m being a little sensitive this morning.
Believe me, I would never sell Coach Howard’s coaching chops short. I was actually trying to add a little humor this morning in suggesting, as a parent, I would literally kick my son out of the house if he didn’t sign with Juwan. I DO think who he is as a man is incredibly important to his success as a coach, and I think it’s important in several ways. I think that, the kind of man one is, is always important to the success of any man…in any endeavor. But yes, you are right, certainly in my “humble” opinion, the man CAN coach!
I had/have high hopes for Jerry Stackhouse. You could tell he was a bright basketball mind when he did postgame Pistons analysis. I think part of it is situation. Juwan stepped into a good program with a lot of upperclassmen. (He’s obviously a great coach beyond that.) I wonder how many of the others stepped into programs that were in good shape.
Not at all meaning to offend you. I’m simply pointing out that when you talk about what a great guy Juwan is and don’t mention anything else it creates an implication that that’s the biggest reason for his success and I don’t agree with that. I think we all agree how great Juwan is we don’t have to agree on the exact order of the reasons that make him great
His whole thing with the media is so weird it makes me question him. I’ve never seen anything like it to be honest.
Agree about Jerry Stackhouse. However, Stack did not spend 5+ years as a coach/player in one of the top 3 organizations in the league, which makes me think Juwan would have succeeded in a lot of situations he stepped into, although obviously not to the same level.
Just looked it up. He was always pretty surly so yeah that doesn’t look like it’s going well.
But, I think he did coach under Dwane Casey in Toronto. And in the GLeague.
I know we have yet to see him coach in the post season, but Juwan is the total package. Irreplaceable. Michigan should extend him now and make him the highest paid coach in the conference, if not the country.
I’m already thinking of where on the Crisler Center grounds his statue will reside… Juwan cabbage patch dancing in bronze.
Howard Court at Crisler Center is located at the intersection of Howard Ave and Howard Blvd.
Interestingly enough the “he’s an awesome dude” is the reason for success that basically everyone in the program has given whenever asked in an interview. For example, I just recently listened to Stu talk to Saddi on his podcast and Saddi pointed out Juwan’s greatest strength was his ability to connect with others.
You wonder if it’s maybe just in contrast to Beilein (a guy who pretty much reinvented basketball on his own terms to the point where he had a completely different set of terminology for everything than the rest of hoops), that Juwan feels like less of an Xs and Os guy to people inside the program? Which I think is fine. Ability/willingness to grow and learn is way more important than innovation/creation as far as scheme.You don’t need to invent the best stuff if you just steal it right after.
Juwan was already a Michigan basketball legend at age 20, but he is on the trajectory to become the legend of Michigan basketball. Under him, Michigan basketball could be elevated to the blue blood status.
Maybe this discussion deserves its own thread (no doubt there will be threads about Coach of the Year awards soon), but it’s happening here, so…
Juwan has several qualities that make him so successful. I think I’d divide them into three buckets, although there’s overlap between them:
Game skills: He knows basketball. He played at the highest level as an amateur and then a professional for over two decades. Before he had finished playing, he had already started coaching. He has learned from his own and others’ experience, and one of the things he learned is that he’ll never know it all, so he understands the value of a deep and talented coaching staff.
Roster skills: He can identify players with talent and has a vision of what combinations of players can succeed for him. He’s also learning how to convince players to come play for him. This is part of his…
People skills: He can communicate with young men, convince them they want to improve, and teach them how.
The very best offensive and defensive schemes are useless if your players will not learn and execute them - ask John Beilein. Having a well-schooled, dedicated team of slow, short players may win you the Colonial Athletic Association championship, but it won’t do much more. Putting together a roster of one-and-dones who won’t listen to their coaches or even talk to their teammates is not going to get you a plaque in any halls of fame.
Any discussion of what makes Juwan a great coach that dismisses any of these factors as unimportant is just not accurate. But any comparison that assumes other coaches have none of these abilities is also wrong. It takes a little more effort to accurately characterize them, I think.
Take our second-most discussed coach, for example: it certainly seems that Izzo’s big shortcoming is in roster skills. This year, he just can’t find any combination of players that will succeed. This has been going on for a while, too - he just can’t resist post players, and so he often winds up with too many bigs. This isn’t a big problem when he has durable stars at the point and the wing, but in the years when he needs to move to Plan B or Plan C, it can be jarringly obvious.
But it’s also obvious that he knows a thing or two about basketball, and that he can get his team to practice and play hard.
In time we’ll identify weaknesses. No coach is perfect. Sometimes we’ve wondered about rotations, for example. But in addition to it being really hard to identify a serious weakness at this point he’s also a cultural legend and widely beloved. This feels like something that will never be replicated. He’s not the last coach Michigan will ever hire, but this feels like something magical just dropping in our laps and that may never happen again. It’s all hands on deck to keep him here as long as we can. As soon I can stop worrying about losing to MSU, I plan to appoint myself head of the Keep Juwan Blue Committee, and will let you know when I am ready to begin receiving favors from all of you in exchange for board seats and executive roles.