Michigan head coach Juwan Howard received great news several days ago when Eli Brooks announced he’d return for a fifth year. That hasn’t stopped his pursuit of backcourt depth.
The Wolverines struck portal gold last season with Columbia’s Mike Smith and Wake Forest’s Chaundee Brown, and while Howard has promising young guards in freshman Frankie Collins and second-year frosh Zeb Jackson, one more would be ideal.
Howard has kicked the tires on a number of players, but Coastal Carolina’s DeVante’ Jones is the most serious candidate at this point. The 6-1 guard was the Sun Belt Player of the Year last year, averaging 19.3 points per game to go along with 7.1 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game, shooting 37 percent from three-point range.
Jones told Stockrisers he was planning a Zoom call with Howard and Michigan assistants this week.
“I just want to explore all of my opportunities and have the chance to showcase my abilities on a bigger platform,” he told ESPN.com. “I have worked hard as a student-athlete at CCU and will be graduating in May. For these reasons, coupled with a coach advancing his career by taking a job at a different institution, I have officially decided to re-enter the transfer portal.
“With that being said, I still will be following my dreams of playing in the NBA as my first option.”
In other words, he’d really like to enter the draft, but he wants a few schools as backups. Texas and Memphis are two others showing the most interest, but sources tell us the family is very intrigued by Howard and U-M.
There’s a solid chance he’ll play one more year in college, and judging by his play and his words, he’d be a great fit to a Michigan program that demands unselfishness and brotherhood.
“In my next school, I’m looking to join a winning culture with a loving community,” Jones said. “I’ll only have one year, so I just want the chance for a coach to trust in me to put the ball in my hands and trust me to make game-winning plays … but also, I want to be around a group of guys who love the game as much as me, if not more.”
We’ll know more about the Wolverines’ chances this week.