Michigan freshman Jett Howard declares for NBA Draft

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

There will be one less Howard on the Michigan basketball team next season.

The program announced Thursday that freshman wing Jett Howard will forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the NBA Draft, meaning he’ll be a one-and-done player.

Michigan announced Thursday that freshman wing Jett Howard will be entering the NBA Draft and forgoing his remaining eligibility, meaning he’ll be a one-and-done prospect.

“I had a vision to play in the NBA as far back as I could remember. With countless sacrifices, hours in the gym, blood, sweat and many tears, I am getting closer to that dream," Jett Howard said in a statement.

“My dreams aren’t possible without the support of my family and friends. The many trainers and coaches who poured their hearts and souls into my development through the years, I can’t thank you all enough. After deep thought and careful consideration, I will be declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft.”

The youngest son of coach Juwan Howard and younger brother of junior forward Jace Howard, Jett was Michigan’s second-leading scorer at 14.2 points and led the Wolverines with 78 made 3-pointers. He earned All-Big Ten third-team honors and was named to the conference’s all-freshman team.

Jett Howard, 19, wasted little time establishing himself. He scored 21 points in his regular-season debut and was a season-long starter. His best outing came in an overtime loss at Iowa when he put on a shooting display and made seven 3-pointers in a 34-point outburst.

Howard (6-foot-8, 215 pounds) showed impressive shooting range and the ability to create for himself and others off handoffs or pick-and-rolls. While he left a lot to be desired as a rebounder and defender, he’s widely projected to be a first-round pick in June’s draft due to his offensive skill set.

He dealt with nagging ankle injuries throughout the season and missed five games, including Michigan’s season-ending loss at Vanderbilt. Howard told ESPN he was playing at “only 50-60%” for most of the Big Ten schedule and elected to sit out both of Michigan’s NIT contests after consulting with an ankle specialist.

"I didn't know how much time I would have at Michigan, so I wanted to make the most of it," Howard told ESPN. "It was a unique situation here with my brother and dad. I didn't want to take this time for granted, which meant playing through injuries. My thought process was if I could do something out there to impact the game, if I could help my team win a few more games and make the NCAA Tournament, I was going to do that."

Howard was ranked No. 43 nationally in his recruiting class, which is typically outside of the range for one-and-done prospects. Yet, he told ESPN his goal before the season was to end up in that territory.

Howard called being a Wolverine "the honor of a lifetime" and added that he didn’t feel any familial pressure to stay at Michigan.

"(My father) said it without saying it; it might be time for you to go," Howard said. "This was easy, for him to let go. He asked around and came to the consensus that I should leave."

In his farewell statement, Howard thanked his teammates and coaches at Michigan and singled out several family members, including his brother and dad.

“Jace: Growing up, you and I would watch Michigan football and basketball games on the couch. It’s surreal to say that we played together at our dream school," Howard said. "Thank you Jace for being that annoying voice in my ear, telling me I’m not good enough and I could be better. I still need it.

“Coach Howard: You gave me the blueprint while allowing me to be me. You instilled tough love. You demanded my best and didn’t go for anything less, which helped me grow on and off the court. The time we shared together will be forever cherished.”

Jett Howard’s departure is the second for the Wolverines this offseason and comes four days after sophomore wing Isaiah Barnes entered the transfer portal.


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins