RALEIGH, N.C. – In May, when Juwan Howard was named head coach at his alma mater Michigan, he was downright insistent about his primary goal in his statement to “lead us to championships both in the Big Ten and national level.”
The Wolverines took a big step in that regard on Thursday, locking in the first five-star recruit in the Howard era with Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, North Carolina) forward Isaiah Todd.
“I’m excited to be a part of what Coach Howard is building at Michigan,” said Todd, who is ranked No. 8 in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25. “He played in the league and played my position, and I know that I can learn a lot from him. Big things are coming at Michigan.”
That statement begs the question: What does Todd’s commitment mean for the Wolverines?
From a basketball standpoint, Todd brings the perfect mix of versatility and tenacity that will make him an instant impact player.
At 6-foot-10, Todd scores efficiently on all three levels, is a strong rebounder and an underrated rim protector.
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Last season, Todd averaged 28 points and 15 rebounds a game. He was subsequently named ALL-USA Player of the Year in North Carolina. This summer, Todd averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds a game with NightRydas Elite (Florida) in the Nike EYBL, the most grueling summer shoe circuit in the country.
Off the court, having Todd onboard should pay off big for the Wolverines as well because he’s well-liked among other Chosen 25 players and has deep connections with elite players around the country.
Simply put: Todd is a player that other elite players want to play with.
Couple that with the general consensus among elite players at USA Basketball Junior Minicamp in Colorado Springs, Colo., last weekend that Howard was a coach you have to give strong consideration; reasons ranged from love for the “The Fab Five” documentary to his resume as a NBA player and assistant coach.
Todd’s commitment will likely only heighten the intrigue among other elite players, and he’s not wasting any time trying to capitalize off of that.
“I’ve already started coming after a bunch of guys now,” Todd said. “I want to be in the best position to win, and I feel like I’ll be able to get some guys to join us. I think we’ll be fine either way. I believe that much in Coach Howard.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY