Former Pershing standout key for Titans
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
With a Horizon League record of 6-10, 13-18 overall, the 2013-2014 season is shaping up into one of the toughest in University of Detroit Mercy basketball history.
Although, it might seem there isn’t any hope for the Titans this season, UDM Head Coach Roy McCallum is putting forth the effort to develop a stronger team next season. One of the key players he’s depending on is former Pershing standout Juwan Howard, Jr.
“We’re just glad he’s part of our program,” McCallum said in a post-game interview. “He has great support from his family and relatives.”
Both of Howard’s parents were basketball players; his father, Juwan Howard, a member of U-M’s Fab Five, played in the NBA.
After he transferred from Western Michigan last year, McCallum says Howard helped the team finish second in the (Horizon League) conference. “During team practice, Juwan the first one there and the last one to leave. We’re glad to have him for another to lead our team.”
This season, the junior six-foot, six-inch forward majoring in sociology, made the All-Horizon League Second Team at the forward position. Howard averaged 18.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Through 31 games, Howard has made 65 assists, 29 steals and 15 blocked shots with a field goal percentage of .416.
“I always big up the UDM program,” Howard said. “I came through the Perry Watson (former Titan Head Coach) camps. After I played one year at Western Michigan, things didn’t work out.” Howard says he returned to UDM because he wanted to be closer to his family. “I have a role to be a leader. I’m going to play harder and remain focused because I want to do whatever it takes to help the Titans win again.”
Howard played his prep basketball years at Pershing from 2008-2010 under the direction of former Pershing Head Coach A.W. Canada. The Doughboys made the Class A State Finals his sophomore year and won it all his junior year.
“Everything I learned about basketball came from him,” Howard said. “He taught me how to play, lead and be a truthful person. Coach Canada turned me from a chubby forward into a powerful guard inside the Pershing gym. I also ran cross country at Pershing to help develop my basketball endurance. As for UDM, I have one more year to be Horizon League Champions. The Horizon League is a tough conference because we play good teams every night. You have to bring your “A” game and can’t take anyone for granted.”
Howard explained the Titans are a defensive team and defense is their forte that develops the offense. “That makes us have fun on the court,” he said.
McCallum says Howard is one of his most improved players on the team. “He’s going to help us get back on top of the Horizon League,” he says.