Michigan basketball’s Juwan Howard outlines his busy summer recruiting strategy

Juwan Howard smiles during his introduction as Michigan’s new men’s basketball coach, Thursday, May 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The former member of the Fab Five has a five-year contract that will pay him $2 million in his first year. The former Miami Heat assistant coach replaces John Beilein, who left to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Juwan Howard hasn’t hit the recruiting trail yet.

But that’s set to change very soon.

Howard, speaking with Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and Harbaugh’s father, Jack, on their “Attack Each Day” podcast, outlined his recruiting strategy for the rest of June and July.

“Thursday will be the first day that I will be able to go out and watch players play,” Howard said. “One of the first places that we plan on visiting is Charlottesville, Virginia. They’re holding the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp. Me and my staff, that will be the first that we will be out there recruiting and watching some guys during that time.”

Since his hiring on May 22, Howard and his staff have mostly been contained by the quiet period, which states that “in-person recruiting contacts may be made only on the college’s campus” while not allowing any in-person, off-campus contact and evaluations.

During that time, Howard was allowed to talk to recruits via texts, calls, emails and direct messages. He has handed out at least two offers to 2020 prospects, including 5-star guard Josh Christopher and 4-star wing Jabri Abdur-Rahim, who each reported offers from Michigan.

On Thursday, things will open up. There are several windows over the next two months — 18 days in total — that will be classified as the evaluation period. While no in-person, off-campus contact with recruits can occur during this time, Howard and his staff can attend AAU tournaments, the NBPA Top 100 camp and certain camps hosted by colleges.

Before Howard can do that, he must pass the recruiting certification test — although by his comments, it appears he has already done so.

“That’s going to be a very busy time for us,” Howard said when the Harbaughs asked about July. “Me and my staff will be out. There’s a tournament in L.A., the Adidas Gauntlet Tournament, so we’ll be out there in Anaheim watching that. And then there’s the Peach Jam, Nike is holding this big event that they’ve put on for many years. A lot of talented ball players go out and compete in that.

“The Peach Jam is also located in Augusta, Georgia, let me not forget to say that. There’s another event held in Atlanta, which we got pretty lucky with that one, I think it’s two and a half, three hours drive away, but it’s good there’s another tournament up there Under Armor is hosting.

“After that, there’s another event that’s happening, if I’m not mistaken, it’s in the Georgia area. This one is more of teams that are not competing in those shoe company circuits where they get a chance to play in a little round-robin tournament. So it’s going to be a pretty busy time. They’re saying right now that there’s going to be some circuit camps in various colleges. It’s a new thing that the NCAA is hosting. So that’s another event that we’re going to be making our way toward. It’s going to be very busy. I’m sure that I’m going to bump into your son-in-law (Georgia coach Tom Crean) at times.”

While recruiting is mostly over for the 2019 class, 2020 recruiting will intensify over the next two months for Howard and his staff. Recruits across the nation already are making official visits, and the early signing period is Nov. 13-20.

According to Howard, he hasn’t hosted any official visitors — although he has locked down one unnamed visitor in the fall (Howard isn’t allowed to publicly comment on specific recruits who have yet to sign). And he says he’ll have unofficial visitors soon, too.

“Unofficial visits are planned, coming up soon,” Howard said. “As far as official visit, I’ve been on the phone recruiting, have one player that is committed to come in the fall, which I’m very excited about.

“I actually invited him to come during a football game because I wanted him to get that true Michigan experience of what it’s like to be on campus while students are there, while football games are happening that weekend and also when players are back playing basketball and competing. He’s looking forward to it. Can’t wait to get him up on campus. I think this kid can be really special.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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