Despite Michigan head coach Juwan Howard vehemently denying any involvement in NBA head coaching rumors, it hasn’t stopped one outlet from predicting that he could be of the next NCAA coaches to make the jump to the professional level in time.
According to a list created by CBS Sports, Howard’s name, along with Kansas’ Bill Self among others, made the list of potential coaches that could make the next step to the NBA.
Just this week, Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s name was brought up as a potential NBA coaching candidate. And while he quickly shot down any speculation, saying he is “not exploring, seeking or listening” to those potential opportunities, whose to say he won’t in time?
Truth is, Howard’s name is going to continue to come up when NBA coaching gigs come open. Even he acknowledged as much in his statement earlier this week in announcing he is staying put. He has NBA coaching experience and cut his teeth at that level. Before he took the Michigan job, even, he was a candidate for the Cavs and Lakers head coaching vacancies.
The big sticking point about his NBA prospects before now was the lack of experience he had as a head coach. Now that he’s got that at Michigan, combined with his six years on the bench as an assistant under Erik Spoelstra, NBA front offices will likely continue to see him as an intriguing coaching candidate who may be willing to make the jump for the right opportunity. — Kyle Boone
Of course, after reports first surfaced about Howard’s name coming up amongst NBA circles as an intriguing name for a potential NBA head coaching job, Howard released a statement denying all rumors and fully declaring his intentions to remain in Ann Arbor for the immediate future.
“There was a report of my name as a potential candidate for NBA coaching opportunities,” Howard said in a statement. “While I am flattered, and know it will more than likely happen again, I am not exploring, seeking or listening. I am the head coach at the University of Michigan! I am blessed to be working at the greatest university in the world. I am blessed to be guiding a group of wonderful young men. We have goals, dreams & championships to win! This is where my focus is. GO BLUE!”
Howard has extensive NBA experience with a 20-year career as a player and a 6-year assistant coach with the Miami Heat. Before becoming the head coach of the Wolverines, Howard had reportedly interviewed for multiple NBA head coaching vacancies, including the Minnesota Timberwolves.
However, it appears that his immediate future will remain in Ann Arbor.
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