Orlando Magic rookie Jett Howard is following in his father Juwan Howard’s NBA footsteps – Andscape

It has been almost 20 years since Juwan Howard was selected in the NBA draft. And as nervous as the University of Michigan men’s basketball coach was on his memorable draft day, those butterflies paled in comparison when he watched his son Jett get selected.

“The coolest part of the draft was when I first walked into the arena and then downstairs. All the draftees were lined up on the stage,” Juwan Howard recently told Andscape. “And they took a picture and I saw my son with them on the stage. I thought, “Damn, this is real.” That’s when it hit me…

“I didn’t really get super emotional about it. I was quite calm. But I was nervous before he was drafted.

Juwan Howard was drafted fifth overall out of the University of Michigan by the Washington Bullets in 1994. After being coached by his father for one season at Michigan, Jett Howard was selected with the 11th overall pick by the Orlando Magic on June 22. The father and son shared a big hug after hearing Jett Howard’s name called at the Barclays Center in New York.

The arrival of Jett Howard added to the long list of fathers and sons in the NBA. Like father like son: Juwan Howard also played for the Magic (2003-04).

“It means the world to me,” Jett Howard said after being selected by Orlando about his father’s influence. “The last few months he’s pushed me to places I’ve never been fitness-wise, and just to see my work pay off like that, it’s a beautiful moment. All praise to God, honestly.”

Juwan Howard is perhaps best known as a member of Michigan’s storied “Fab Five” with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. In the NBA, Howard averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 1,208 games with the Bullets, Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat over 21 seasons. The 1996 NBA All-Star also won two NBA championships with the Heat.

Jett Howard says he is definitely very familiar with his father’s NBA career.

“The older I get, the more I learn,” Jett Howard told Andscape. “I feel like I didn’t understand when I was younger and he was sitting on the end of the bench. But now I’ve seen everything he’s done in college, everything he’s done in the league, that’s for sure high.”

Duke University forward Antonio Lang (right) pressures Michigan center Juwan Howard (left) during the first half of the 1992 NCAA championship game on April 6, 1992 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

David Longstreath/AP Photo

Michigan guard Jett Howard drives upfield during a game against Iowa on Jan. 12 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall/AP PHOTO

Jett Howard was born on September 14, 2003 in Chicago. So how did the youngest of Juwan Howard’s four sons get the name Jett?

“I saw MTV is crawling and John Travolta was on,” said Juwan Howard. “I remember seeing his airplanes and I was really big on airplanes. And on one of his airplanes he talked about how he had a son named Jett and I always liked that name. My wife , when she was pregnant with Jett, I said, ‘How about the name Jett?’ And she said, ‘Yes, we can definitely go with that.’

“And then at the last minute, when he was close to arriving during labor, I got a little nervous about the name. So I almost pulled the plug on the name. But I went back to it and my wife and she was all for it.”

Jett Howard said his fondest memories of his father’s NBA career are when he played for the Heat from 2010-13 and was an assistant coach from 2013-19.

“Ray Allen was who he used to rebound for right before the games,” Juwan Howard said. “There were times at halftime when Ray would run upstairs and get some shots on our practice court. And I didn’t even know it, but Jett would come back. Ray was the one he drew the most. Ray was great with the kids.”

Along with the Heat championship parades, Jett Howard’s most beloved Heat moment began with him nearly in tears as a 9-year-old during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

The Spurs were up by three points in the final seconds with a chance to win the title against a Heat team that included Juwan Howard as a rarely used reserve. As Jett sat with his mother Jenine and older brother Jace, Heat fans left the arena in anticipation of their team’s elimination. After Heat forward LeBron James missed a 3-pointer, his teammate Chris Bosh grabbed an offensive rebound and then passed it to Allen, who hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left. Miami went on to win Game 6 in overtime and Game 7 for its second straight title.

“I remember seeing ticket holders that we were sitting next to walk past us out the door and say, ‘Happy season,'” Jett Howard said. “And then they tried to come back in after Ray Allen hit that shot. And I was about to cry beforehand. Well, we’ve already won a championship. So I thought, ‘Well at least we won one, but I was still like it’s over. I felt like they might have broken up the team after that. But after Ray hit that shot, everybody was revved up and ready. It was crazy.”

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard (right) talks with guard Jett Howard (left) during a game against Michigan State on Jan. 7 in East Lansing, Michigan.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Juwan Howard said he realized his son could be special after he helped NSU University School in Davie, Fla., defend its 2019 state title as a freshman. Three of his son’s teammates went on to the NBA: Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks and Washington Wizards center Vernon Carey.

Jett Howard was ranked 44th overall on ESPN’s Top 100 list for the class of 2022. The 6-foot-8 forward turned down Florida, Georgetown, LSU, North Carolina State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt to play for his father at Michigan. Howard was Michigan’s second-leading scorer, averaging 14.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2 assists in 29 games as a freshman last season. On March 23, the 2023 All-Big Ten third-team selection entered the NBA draft with his father’s blessing.

“I feel like people misunderstood me in terms of me wanting to go to the next level and thought I was trying to speed up that process,” Jett Howard said. “But I’ve always wanted to play professionally. I’ve always wanted to put that jersey on. If my dad told me to come back another year, I probably would have.

“Being my dream is why I came out. This has always been my main dream. But you have to actually be honest with yourself and ask people if you’re ready. My dad said I’m ready now .”

One of the reasons Juwan Howard is happy to see his son go to Orlando is that he is very familiar with coach Jamahl Mosley and Jeff Weltman, president of basketball operations. Mosley was the player development coach with the Nuggets during Howard’s first stint in Denver when Weltman was the assistant general manager.

“Jeff turned around the Denver Nuggets and also the Milwaukee Bucks,” Juwan Howard said. “I was happy that my son is around people like I have been [around]. Jamahl has developed some of the best, like Luka [Dončić]. Jamal is a great guy, but also has a lot of basketball knowledge.”

“My connection started back with Juwan in my early days with Denver. He came to training camp and I just admired his professionalism, his teaching, his toughness and treatment of everyone around him. It was so good for me to see that I as young coach came into the league from a true veteran of the game,” Mosley told Andscape:

Orlando Magic guard Jett Howard plays against the Detroit Pistons in the first quarter of a 2023 NBA Summer League game at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 8 in Las Vegas.

Candice Ward/Getty Images

In his third game, Jett Howard had his best game of the NBA Summer League on Wednesday with 22 points and four 3-pointers in an 82-80 overtime loss against the New York Knicks. Mosley likes what he’s seen from the rookie so far.

“Jett has such a great basketball IQ and feel for the game,” Mosley said. “He’s had great coaching his whole life and he loves to work and loves the game. It’s great to have him here.”

Jett Howard isn’t the only Michigan newcomer to the NBA this season. The Atlanta Hawks selected Kobe Bufkin with the 15th overall pick in the draft and the Los Angeles Lakers signed Colin Castleton to a two-way contract. Juwan Howard now has six former players in the NBA, including his son, Bufkin, Castleton, Magic forwards Caleb Houstan and Franz Wagner and Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Livers.

Juwan Howard attended summer league in Las Vegas this week to see his former players.

“It’s been four years since I went to coach in college and to help develop all the kids that have played for my program,” Howard said. “And then to see like six of them in the NBA that that was always their goal. And to have an impact on helping them achieve their goals, helping them achieve their dreams and make it a reality, I’m definitely proud of the.”

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