Men's Basketball The Rivalry

Morning Conversational: What Does Chris Holtmann Think of the Juwan Howard Hire?

Chris Holtmann Press Conference Buckeyes basketball

Today’s Topic: What Does Chris Holtmann Think of the Juwan Howard Hire?

Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann spoke with reporters on Wednesday and was asked a variety of questions. Eventually, the conversation turned north, specifically Michigan’s hiring of Juwan Howard.

Howard, who has no previous head coaching experience, was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat. He started coaching there in 2013 following the end of his playing career with the Heat.

While Holtmann has not met Howard, he was very familiar with former Michigan head coach John Beilein and had talked to him previously about the NBA.

“I don’t know Juwan at all. I talked to John a couple of weeks before he took the Cleveland job,” Holtmann said. “We actually talked about the Detroit job. I got the impression then that if Detroit had offered him the job, he would have taken it last year. I don’t think at that time it hit me necessarily that he could be on his way out, but I think it put it in my mind that potentially if an NBA job came open he would take it.”

Holtmann may not know Howard, but he certainly knows of him and he is excited for what Michigan’s new head coach will bring to the Big Ten.

“As far as Juwan, it’s obviously a really exciting hire for them,” he said. “I remember watching – obviously who doesn’t remember watching his teams – and I remember watching him in the NBA as well and had immense respect for how he played. It’s an exciting time for them. I think it’s good for our league in a lot of ways because you have a guy that not only was an elite player, but he’s also a guy that has worked behind the scenes of an NBA organization for a number of years. He’s prepared. I think that’s good for our league.”

Given that Howard has no college coaching experience, it was notable that he went out and hired former long-time St. Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli to help him out with the inner workings of college basketball, and specifically the NCAA.

“It’s interesting,” Holtmann said of the hire. “Some guys differ on that with hiring a head coach on your staff. Some people feel like that’s important. Some people don’t feel as strongly about that. When you have a guy from the NBA that’s coming in, I think you need a couple of college guys because there are some landmines that you have to avoid, primarily in the area of compliance, that you’re just unaware of when you’re in the NBA.

“I think Phil will do an incredible job in terms of some of the other things to avoid being a first-time head coach that we all experienced our first couple of years. So I would expect that he will do a great job with that.”