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No. 6 Michigan shoots for national title under Juwan Howard

Michigan head basketball coach Juwan Howard, center, talks to the team during an NCAA college basketball practice during media day, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

ANN ARBOR – Juwan Howard is shooting to win a national championship, an achievement that has eluded him as a coach and player at Michigan.

Entering Howard’s third season as coach, the former member of the Fab Five is not afraid to say he and his players have aspirations to cut down the nets at the Final Four in April.

“That’s the goal every year, to always achieve to win championships,” he said.

The Wolverines are the top-ranked Big Ten team at No. 6 in the preseason AP Top 25, recognizing the talent, depth and coaching that gives them a realistic shot at winning the school’s second NCAA title and its first in 32 years.

Michigan will be led by 7-foot-1 center Hunter Dickinson, who earned second-team All-America, Big Ten Freshman of the Year and all-conference honors last season. Guard Eli Brooks, who has started 68 games, chose to come back for an extra season of eligibility available due to the pandemic.

DeVante’ Jones was recruited by a lot schools as a graduate transfer from Coastal Carolina after being named Sun Belt Player of the Year. The scoring guard also could have stayed in the NBA draft, but chose to chase a championship at Michigan instead of accepting to play for No. 5 Texas, No. 14 Memphis or Texas Tech.