Juwan Howard to Michigan basketball seniors: Invitation to return is open if they want it

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Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read
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The offseason just began, but Juwan Howard already has a message for every senior on the Michigan basketball team.

"Our senior class was amazing," Howard said Thursday afternoon. "We're truly going to miss them. I hope they remember that it was a free year, so if they choose they want to come back, the invitation is open."

Howard laughed, then said, "It was fun to coach them, man."

During a teleconference following his selection as the Associated Press' Coach of the Year, Howard elected not to delve into offseason topics — understandable, given his team's season ended Tuesday night against UCLA in the Elite Eight.

Michigan coach Juwan Howard speaks with guard Eli Brooks during the second half of the Elite Eight game in the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.
Michigan coach Juwan Howard speaks with guard Eli Brooks during the second half of the Elite Eight game in the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.

But his comments about the senior class suggest Howard could be doing some recruiting in the near future. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all athletes in Division I winter sports.

SHAWN WINDSOR: Despite painful Elite Eight loss, Juwan Howard, Michigan just getting started

Michigan's 2020-21 roster, meanwhile, had five seniors: center Austin Davis, guard Eli Brooks, wing Isaiah Livers, point guard Mike Smith and wing Chaundee Brown.

Last Friday, Brooks told the Free Press that he was still contemplating his future.

"I've thought about it," Brooks said. "I talked to my parents. I think at the end of the year, I'm going to sit down and talk with the coaches and find out, talk through it with them, find out what the best fit is for me."

His father, James, told the Free Press on Thursday that Brooks has yet to make a decision.

[ Michigan exceeded all expectations despite disappointing ending to season ]

"He has his end-of-season banquet and all that stuff," James Brooks said. "He was just really focused on the season. I think he's going to take a little bit of time right here and reflect upon what the future holds. I'm sure it'll be out in a week or two."

U-M has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for 2021, which includes McDonald's All-Americans Kobe Bufkin (Grand Rapids Christian), Caleb Houstan (Montverde, Florida) and Moussa Diabate (Bradenton, Florida).

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball seniors welcome to use extra year of eligibility