Michigan’s Curse of the Timeout

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Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

Ellie Fisher, Staff Writer

 

Michigan has a history with timeouts. Chris Webber’s errant timeout in the championship game against the University of North Carolina in 1993 ended up costing the Wolverines the game; letting the 20 seconds on the clock dwindle away because Michigan did not have a timeout remaining. More recently, Juwan Howard, Michigan’s head coach and another member of the Fab Five (the 1991 Michigan recruiting class), almost lost his job after Wisconsin’s coach called an untimely timeout. It is clear that “The Fab Five” is cursed by timeouts.   

 

After his college career at Michigan, Juwan Howard continued playing basketball in the NBA. He played in one all-star game in 1996 and later won championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. After a successful career in the NBA, Juwan Howard transitioned to coaching, taking the position of assistant coach for the Heat. 

 

 Juwan Howard continues his legacy at Michigan to this day. When John Belien stepped down in 2019 as coach, Juwan happily took the job. He was an honors student at Chicago Vocational Academy and stayed out of trouble even when fellow members of the Fab Five were involved in a money-laundering scandal. His teammates continue to sing his praises as Juwan proudly won AP Coach of the Year and Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2021. 

 

Juwan is a hero on campus and revered by Michigan alumni worldwide, but an incident this weekend after a game against the University of Wisconsin may have tarnished his reputation. Greg Gard, head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, called a timeout with 15 seconds left on the clock. Juwan Howard, among others, deemed this call unsportsmanlike due to the fact that Wisconsin was up by 15 points; seemingly, Wisconsin was just rubbing salt in the wound. 

 

The final score was 63-77 – a win for Wisconsin. As the teams lined up to shake hands and throw around a couple of “good games”, Juwan trailed behind. Juwan later jumped in the line after a few players and decided he was going to ignore Gregg Gard to show his distaste for his timeout decision. Gregg Gard grabs Howard and words are exchanged. Juwan looks furious, Greg looks displeased. The conversation intensifies to the point where Juwan “felt it was time to protect” himself. 

 

Hunter Dickison, Michigan’s star Center, steps in and pulls Juwan aside as the scene escalates. Wisconsin assistant coach, Joe Krabenhofft, then makes an unknown remark to Michigan player Terrance Williams III, which angers Juwan to the point where he swings at Krabbenhoft. 

 

Terrance Williams III then appears to be tackled. As Terrance regains his footing, he is sucker-punched by Jacobi Neath. Moussa Diabaté witnessed the dirty blow suffered by his teammate and started fighting back. 

 

The actions of the Michigan basketball team resulted in Juwan Howard being fined $40,000 along with having to serve a season-long suspension. Although Terrance Williams III and Moussa Diabaté were involved in order to defend themselves and their teammates, they will be suspended for only one game. Jacobi Neath will also miss a game for his unwarranted aggression. Greg Gard got off easy, as a passive-aggressive announcement from Chris Mcintosh, Wisconsin’s athletic director, stated that he “commend[s] those on [their] staff—and student-athletes—who were trying to deescalate the situation.” The statement placed no blame on the athletes and staff who participated in the brawl and said that “Wisconsin Athletics will assume the responsibility” of paying Greg Guard’s $10,000 fine. 

 

Gard is off the hook, while Juwan is receiving a lot of backlash. Stephen A Smith stated that Juwan was a coach and not a player and should be held to a  “different standard” due to the fact that he needs to be a role model for his players. The quarrel is a foul look for the University of Michigan and the athletic department fears that recruiting for basketball may take a hit. 

 

Dugan Fife, one of Juwan’s former teammates, addressed the situation acknowledging that Juwan is “one of the most savvy, intelligent, and aware dudes [he] know[s],” and that “there’s a reason he tried to grab” Krabenhofft. Fife ends his statement by sharing that if his son ever had the opportunity “to play or work for Juwan, [he] would call it an honor.” Howard still has respect from his peers but will have to regain the respect of the general public. 

 

This event is a warning for the remaining “Fab Five” members: keep an eye out for the next cursed timeout.