Juwan Howard is someone who has spent the majority of his life around the NBA, be it as a player for 19 seasons or as a Miami Heat assistant coach for six seasons. The big man was also a part of the famed Fab Five at the University of Michigan, which came full circle as he accepted the head coaching position in Ann Arbor in 2019. His youngest son, Jett Howard, has been exposed to what it takes to make it to that level and has been coached and groomed with experiences that give him an incredible perspective at such a young age.
Playing with two of the best players in high school basketball as a freshman in Vernon Carey, Jr. and Scottie Barnes at University School, Jett took on a much larger role as a sophomore, playing on the ball a majority of the time. Already an adept shooter, with an ability to play off ball as a dangerous catch-and-shoot threat, he was also able to attack closeouts, use his dangerous pull-up and make passing reads that lead to scoring opportunities for his teammates. Averaging 15.6 points and 3.7 assists, over half of Howard’s field goals were from behind the arc at a 38% clip, many of which were from beyond college range.
Howard now makes the move to IMG Academy, where he will be part of a team that is full of top players in the high school class of 2022. IMG will have top 2022 point guard Jaden Bradley, along with other highly-ranked 2022 players Jarace Walker, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Eric Dailey, Jr. Howard’s shooting ability and ball skills should give him a role right away, while IMG’s training program will help him add even more layers to his game.
He’s someone many college coaches will inevitably be very excited about as a prospect, though winding up playing for his dad at Michigan may be tough to top. For the time being, he also has offers from Florida and Vanderbilt, along with plenty of other schools keeping track of him. In this interview, he pulls back the curtain and shares his family history, what it was like having a father around the NBA, schools he has kept a close eye on, his past season at University School, what he hopes to gain out of his transfer to IMG Academy, some of the players he has faced in high-level games of one-on-one, his favorite players, his experiences at multiple USA Basketball events, a glimpse into where he would like to end up in the NBA, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Jett Howard, from Miami, Florida:
Pro Insight: Talk about your background and your story.
Jett Howard: I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I lived there for about a year. Then I moved to Houston, Texas because my dad worked there and I lived there for about six years. After that, my dad got traded to the Miami Heat so that’s kind of where we got to settle down a bit. In Miami I got introduced to a guy called Remy Workouts [Stanley Remy] and from there, my game started to develop a little bit more. The stuff he teaches helps my body movement and I am familiar with that type of drill work, so I’ve developed a lot over the years. I think that’s when I really started taking basketball serious, is when I started working out with him.
PI: Can you share a bit more about your family background?
JH: My dad never really sat me down and said, “you’re going to play basketball.” He wanted me to try out all different sports. So I played soccer until I was like 13 years old. I played baseball until I was around 10 years old — but I basically chose to play basketball, myself. Me and my brother used to work out everyday and play one-on-one with each other. When I was in sixth grade my older brother was getting ready for the NBA draft and moved back to Miami for about a year to prepare himself. So when he came down he would teach and educate me on the game and it helped me out a lot. We used to play a lot of games like “21” and stuff and it basically got me ready for all of the circuit basketball and just realizing you can get roughed up a bit and just keep moving — so they’ve helped me out a lot. My dad has basically been with me throughout all of this and he gives me good advice...like to stay focused every day. I didn’t have a lot of time with him [my father] to sit down and plan out what days we were going to work out because he’s on the road and is really busy, so we never really had consistency with working out. That’s why when I started working out with Remy my game developed a lot more because it was on a consistent basis. I think that’s when I started to take off, but my dad [Juwan] has been there every step of the way for sure.
PI: Did you play any other sports aside from soccer and baseball?
JH: I played football all the way to eighth grade, I was a wide receiver and a quarterback. I was actually pretty good at football. My dad, he sat me down and was like, “man, are you going to play college football or college basketball?” I was like, “I guess I’ll play college basketball.” He basically made me choose, because he didn’t want me to be a dual-sport athlete so he wanted me to focus on one because it’d be easier for me...so I chose basketball because I’d been doing it for so long.
PI: Is football your first love?
JH: My first love is basketball, but I feel like football is more fun because there’s a lot of action. I like hitting people and not getting in trouble for it, so I like the action of it, but basketball is my first love for sure.
PI: How has football helped your basketball game?
JH: Probably just physically and having a dog mentality. So basically not backing down to anybody whether they’re bigger or smaller than you and just being consistent on how you approach the game. Never take plays or games off, so I think football helped shape that a little bit.
PI: For those who aren’t super familiar with your game, what are some of your greatest strengths?
JH: I would say shooting, for sure. My ball-handling is a little sneaky. Defense, for sure — and my vision.
PI: What about some things you still need to work on?
JH: Right now I’m focusing on ball-handling and defense a lot. I’m working on moving my feet, but basically every aspect of the game. I can’t really focus on one. I have to polish everything right now...definitely in quarantine, too.
PI: What would you say is most underrated about your game?
JH: My driving ability. I feel like it gets lost because I shoot a lot of jumpers. So I don’t think anybody really got to see how good my driving ability is, so I hope to showcase that this year at IMG.
PI: What are your current measurements?
JH: 6’6.5” and 200 pounds with just my underwear on and hopefully with a jersey on I’ll weigh like 210 [laughs]. About a 6’8-9” wingspan.