The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 13, 1995 - 3
, Ex-Fab Fiver talks about his first year in
the NBA and his memories of Michigan
Juwan Howard was the first mem-
berofthe Fab Five recruiting class to
sign with the Wolverines. That class,
which also included current Wash-
ington Bullets teammate Chris
Webber, Denver Nugget Jalen Rose
, and current Wolverines Jimmy King
and Ray Jackson, took college bas-
ketball and the nation by storm as
they reached the 1992 NCAA champi-
onshipgame theirfreshman year. With
his trademark dependable play,
HowardhelpedleadMichigan back to
the title game in 1993.
After earning third-team All-
American honors last year and being
named 1994 NCAA Midwest Regional
Most Outstanding Player, Howard
decided to forego his senior year at
Michigan. He was chosen by the
Washington Bullets with thefifthpick
in the NBA Draft.
After a long contract dispute,
Howard signed with the Bullets and
has made an immediate impact on the
league. He currently leads all rookies
in rebounds and field goal percent-
*age and is in the top five in scoring
among first-year players.
Daily Sports Writer Brian Sklar
spoke with Howard shortly after he
signed with the Bullets about his ex-
periencesatMichigan, playing along-
side Webber once again, and his ex-
pectations of playing in the NBA.
D: You missed all of training camp
and the first few games of the season
*ue to a holdout. What did you do to
keep in shape?
H: I started July 7 when I got
into training in the summer. A guy
who I was working with works with
current NBA players like Kendall
Gill, Ken Norman, Nick Anderson,
and also ex-players like Michael
Jordan. I hired him this summer and
we worked together throughout the
whole summer through the time I
'started training with the Bullets. We
did a lot of basketball drills. We
worked on strengthening and con-
ditioning, like weights. I also
worked on cardiovascular stuff like
running on the track and the tread-
mill. So, you know, I just tried to be
in tip-top shape when I reported in
because I didn't want to report into
training camp trying to get into
D: You were the first of the Fab
Five to sign at Michigan, showing
that you like to get things done early.
How frustrating was it for you to start
the season late?
H: Well, yes, I have to admit that
it was kind of frustrating because, you
know, I'm a guy who loves to be part
of the team. I want everything to start
on time. And, you know, just sitting
Oback and watching everyone on ESPN
and some of the games on TV on TNT
... you know, it was frustrating be-
cause I wanted to be apart of that.I hate
to sit at home, and people in Chicago
were asking me "When are you going
to get signed?". They couldn't wait to
see me out there. You know, it started
being mind-boggling. I just tried to
stay focused because, for one, I got to
keep in perspective that it's a business.
- D: The Bullets acquired your former
Michigan teammate Chris Webberonly
a few hours after you signed with the
team. How did you feel when you
found out that you two would be on the
same team in the NBA?
H: Well, I felt great about it. I never
knew something like this would ever
happen. I always dreamed about it. I
oust wish we could bring Jalen, Jimmy
and Ray and have the Fab Five, be-
cause that would be great. But to have
Chris here again, it makes the atmo-
sphere much better for me because I'm
familiar with Chris not only from a
basketball standpoint, but as far as a
friendship. We've been together and
been friends for a long time and it's
going to continue to be that way.
D: When was the first time you
eard that you and Webber might
havethe chancetoplay together again?
H: Well, just like the fans. I heard
it was a rumor. But then it started
leaking and then more talks were be-
;"a AAO-A 'Ant] T ;,c th nh . fa
D: How have you been adjusting to
the style of play in the NBA?
H: I'vebeen comfortable since day
one. It's just a matter of time for me.
I'm starting to get more minutes and
that's helping me. It's also boosting my
confidence up, because I know I can be
a star at this level. You know, I'mjust
going to be honest and true and I'mjust
going to show confidence.
D: After your last game at Michi-
gan last year, you said that it would
not be your last game at Crisler Arena.
What made you decide to leave school
H: Well, I had to do what was best
for Juwan. You know, I felt I had a
great career at U-M and I think it was
time for me to move on. I saw my
dream ahead of me, theIlight was open,
and Ij ust had to go after it. I never knew
what the next year would be like.
D: Do you plan on finishing your
degree at Michigan?
H: You know, I'm going to shock
you when I say this, but right now I'm
taking correspondence. I'm planning
on receiving my degree hopefully this
May. I only have 12 hours left.
D: During your career at Michi-
gan, you were active in serving the
community. Do you plan to be an
active member in the Washington area
H:Yes, I plan on being active in the
Washington community. And I can't
leave out Chicago because that's home
for me. There are some needs that need
to be helped there. And I'm also going
to be apart of Ann Arbor, I would say
to Michigan, because that's home for
me. It's helped me in so many ways,
not only as far as basketball, but as far
as me growing as aperson, maturing as
an individual. I've got to keep that in
D: Do you still keep in contact
with Coach (Steve) Fisher?
H: Yes. I talked to him the day I
signed and he was excited for me. I
still talk to some of the players, too.
I'll be there for a game. Chris and I
will go together when we get some
D: What do you think of the new
recruiting class that's been compared
to the Fab Five?
H: Well, I think they have some
great individuals. I met all of them
and as persons, they are all good guys,
and as players, they're unbelievable.
I've sat down and watched them when
they were in Maui. I was kind of sad
for the loss when they lost to Arizona
State. But they're going to stick with
it. You know, it takes time for them to
learn the systemjust like it did with us
when we were freshmen. They are
going to have a long, prosperous ca-
D: Did being part of the Fab Five
ever have any downsides because
there was so much media criticism?
H: No, I never thought it had down-
sides. The vast majority of the times it
had positive upsides. You know, I
feel that I was blessed to be part of the
Fab Five. It's helped meget to the final
game two years in a row. A lot of
players who play Division I basket-
ball never had that opportunity and
never had that chance. I have to be
grateful for that. It's helped me in so
many other ways as faras the mediaas
far as notoriety.
D: What's your best memory at
Michigan? It doesn't have to be play-
H: (He laughs) Living in the
Helmet rule senseless;
outlaw other atrocities
he Miami, Florida and Florida State football programs all
suffered a tremendous setback last week as the NCAA made it
illegal for a player to remove his helmet on the field.
The players on these teams (and selected others throughout college
football) derive unfathomable confidence from the feeling of fresh air
on their noggins.
Now, though, your favorite Hurricanes, Gators and Seminoles will
be penalized if they celebrate after scoring a touchdown, hauling in a
three-yard reception or tackling an opposing running back after he has
gained five yards.
What to do?
Certainly the NCAA could have chosen more deserving targets for
censure among all sports.
First off, football coaches really shouldn't be able to become
billboards for the latest styles from Starter, Nike and Logo Athletic.
There's nothing I hate more than seeing about 500 cutaway shots of
Ohio State coach John Cooper per Buckeye telecast as he wears a
baseball hat adorned with writing and insignias on the front, back, brim,
left side, right side and across the top.
I see a flag - 10-yard penalty from the spot of the hat.
Hey, I enjoy marching bands as much as the next nihilist. But
sometimes it's just too much. You're forced to hear "The Victors"
approximately 37 times per game at Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena
and Yost Ice Arena. The number of undercooked Pizza Hut personal
pizzas you've consumed notwithstanding, that's just too many
renditions of the famed tune.
I'll allow the song to be played ten times each contest - but not just
after the opposition scores!
If there's a transgression, the home team's first unit sits for one
minute for each version over the allotted ten.
While I'm on aesthetics, how about basketball warmups? I'll excuse
Michigan's atrocities for now. They're new, it could be merely a one-
season lapse in judgment.
But then there's Indiana. The Hoosiers have had the same pinstriped
pants for years and still haven't gotten the gist of it. I'll give them a
hint - they're COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS.
Hideous warmups call for drastic measures: Double technical on the
I'm sure certain cheerleaders log countless hours preparing to pep up
the home team's crowd. Their efforts are mostly appreciated in this
Do me a favor, though. Stay away from hockey games. Michigan is
smart enough to keep polyester short shirts separate from powerful slap
shots, but many schools are not.
Pucks plus pom-pons equals penalty shot.
I'll let fans have certain rights when they purchase their tickets.
They can hurl epithets at opposing players. I'll allow them to litter their
surroundings with waste from hurriedly-enjoyed meals. And they can
grope complete strangers in the name of championship fever.
But if I had the NCAA's ear, there's one thing fans would forever be
banned from doing - holding signs advertising a television network's
"Next up: SportsCenter," "Stay tuned for 'The Simpsons"' and
"Next: Wide World of Sports" are what's wrong with our society.
Punishment: That fan's favorite team forfeits, even if it's playing in
another city, and said fan is given the mark of Cain.
If these few sore thumbs in college sports were taken care of, we
could concentrate on more pressing matters - like where the hell the
camera is when I take off my helmet.
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WINTER '95 ELECTIONS
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