Michigan head coach Juwan Howard is still learning the ropes of college basketball.
The former NBA star and assistant coach took the Wolverines head coaching job in late May as he’s trying to figure out the subtle nuances that come with recruiting. Howard appeared to commit a secondary NCAA violation on Monday during a radio appearance on the Jim Rome Show.
In an interview with guest hosts the Sklar Brothers — known for their comedic take on sports; “Cheap Seats” is an underrated gem — Howard was asked about Michigan recruit Franz Wagner, the younger brother of former Wolverines star Moritz Wagner. Since Franz is uncommitted, and could stay overseas instead of playing college basketball, Howard speaking publicly about his future recruiting decision is technically an NCAA violation.
“Our communication has been great,” Howard said of Franz on the show. “Right now, he is making a decision if he is going to play with his national team to represent his country in the (FIBA) World Cup championship tournament. I highly recommend that he does. That’s a chance of a lifetime.
“At the end of the day, we’ve been communicating on whenever that process is over with, we’d love to have him on campus, wear a Michigan jersey just like his brother, and at some point compete for the University of Michigan and help this team in any way possible, and become a student-athlete at the university.”
The Sklar Brothers were jokingly pushing Howard to announce Franz’s potential commitment on the show as they are Michigan alums who are former classmates with the Fab Five standout. Clearly, the question-and-answer of this particular part of the segment is light-hearted and not Howard trying to give a hard pitch on the air.
Michigan will likely report a secondary violation with the NCAA — which usually results in a slap on the wrist. If anything, it’s a learning experience for Howard as he continues to figure out the NCAA’s rules.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Howard’s answer, however, is Franz’s potential decision timeline. The national team dilemma for the FIBA World Cup is an interesting one as the event doesn’t start until late August. It means that Germany, where the Wagners are from, will likely have to make some national team decisions soon before training camp begins — which could lead to a potential decision from Franz on playing at Michigan.