Charlottesville, Va. — Past and present Wolverines aren’t the only ones who were elated when Juwan Howard was named Michigan’s new basketball coach.
Potential future Wolverine and 2020 commit Zeb Jackson was, too.
“I was really excited, for sure,” Jackson said during the first day of the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia. “Me, my dad and my mom all talked about it and we thought it was a really good fit. We waited until we got in contact with him and we didn't rush anything. We weren't really in a rush.
“I really love the choice and I've been talking to (Juwan’s son) Jace about it. It definitely is a really good fit.”
Like most of the basketball world, Jackson, a four-star guard, took to Twitter to react when the news of Howard's hiring broke. He tweeted out a photo of him with Howard from a few years ago when his AAU team was playing in New York.
Jackson said while it was a “coincidence” he had the picture, Howard, a former All-American, NBA All-Star and two-time NBA champion, is someone he has always looked up to.
“I mean, the Fab Five, everybody knows about them,” Jackson said. “That's huge for him to be able to come back and be the head coach after such a great history at Michigan.
“I was talking to (former Miami Heat star) Dwyane Wade earlier about it because he's here and when I told him I'm committed to Michigan he's like, 'That's my guy.' A lot of people know Coach Howard and it's exciting he's about to be head coach."
Jackson said he has talked with Howard a few times since he signed a five-year deal on May 22 following a 25-year run in the NBA (19 as a player, six as a Heat assistant coach). Most of the conversation has been on a get-to-know-you basis and nothing about X’s and O’s, although Howard did tell Jackson he's "really excited to coach me up."
“It'll just be interesting how this year goes in general,” said Jackson, who is transferring from Maumee (Ohio) Valley to national power Montverde Academy in Florida to better prepare for the next level.
“He'll be able to get to see him play so that'll be good. I mean, a lot has to play out honestly. He hasn't coached at all, hasn't had a practice, anything. It'll be interesting to see how a lot of stuff plays out.”
Still, Jackson said he remains solid with his commitment as the lone recruit for Michigan’s 2020 class and is trying to change that by doing his own recruiting at the five-day camp.
Jackson is on the same team as Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a four-star wing from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., who received an offer from Howard last week, and is attempting to steer other interested players more toward Michigan.
But given what Jackson already knows about Howard, his resume and the fact his first known offer went to five-star guard Joshua Christopher, he doesn’t think Howard will need much help.
"I mean people love him, love his personality, everything,” Jackson said. “Even me when I first talked to him, it was really great.
“I know he'll do big things.”