Michigan Writer "Absolutely" Expects Fab Five Reunion

Juwan Howard is back at Michigan. What does this mean for the program – and the Fab Five? Andrew Kahn has answers...

May 23, 2019 - 8:58 am
Juwan Howard

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Juwan Howard will replace John Beilein as Michigan’s head coach, which is noteworthy for several reasons, including the fact that the Fab Five’s Final Four banners remain down.

“It kind of is amazing,” MLive.com and Ann Arbor News Wolverines writer Andrew Kahn said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They went from John Beilein to, yes, a member of the Fab Five. (Howard) was never implicated in any of these things. They didn’t just hire Chris Webber as the coach, but it is interesting.”

The banners came down in 2002, and the Fab Five has had a complicated relationship with Michigan ever since. Especially Chris Webber, who was an honorary captain for Michigan’s football game against Penn State last November, but still has a beef with the basketball program – and the university.

That could change with Howard as head coach.

“I don’t think Chris Webber or any of these guys weren’t coming back because they had something against John Beilein,” Kahn said, “but now that one of their former teammates is leading the program, you can absolutely expect a reunion of sorts.”

In any event, Howard replaces Beilein, who is, quite possibly, the best coach in program history. Scott Ferrall thinks so. So does Kahn.

How will Howard translate to the college game? 

“Despite being a star player, that doesn’t always translate to being a good coach because you have the talent and you can’t always get the players to do the things that you could do,” Kahn said. “But I talked to his college coaches earlier tonight, and they said that even at Michigan he has never the most athletic guy. He was a guy who valued fundamentals, he had great footwork, he was someone who really thought the game out, and I don’t think you have a 19-year career without doing that. You can get by on your talent early, but by the end of that, you’re probably using a little more guile and your basketball IQ. I think he’ll definitely bring all of that to the table.”

Beilein recruited at a high level at Michigan, but Howard, 46, has a chance to be even better.

“John Beilein, for all his success, never recruited a McDonald’s All-American and was not typically landing five-stars,” Kahn said. “That’s not a knock on him because at the end of the day you win. If you win, it doesn’t really matter how you build your team. He won and he did it cleanly. That’s the important thing. But you make your job a little easier if you can get the better players.”

Click below to listen to Kahn’s interview in its entirety.