Juwan Howard releases statement after Michigan suspended him for rest of regular season

Howard suspended for hitting Wisconsin assistant coach in head

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Madison, Wis. (Andy Manis, The Associated Press 2022)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard released a statement Monday night after he was suspended for the rest of the regular season for hitting a Wisconsin coach in the head.

Howard will miss the final five games of the regular season due to the incident, which followed his team’s loss to the Badgers this weekend.

Here’s a statement from Howard:

The Wolverines will also be without starter Moussa Diabate and reserve Terrance Williams for the Rutgers game. Both were in the middle of the struggle that followed Howard’s first blow.

Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was issued a $10,000 fine, and reserve Jahcobi Neath was suspended one game.

What happened

Near the end of Sunday’s 77-63 loss, Howard appeared to be unhappy that Gard called a timeout in the final minute of the game. Michigan’s bench players and starting point guard DeVante’ Jones were using a full-court press against the Badgers. Gard said he called a timeout to draw up a way to break the pressure.

Then, after the final buzzer, Howard appeared to hesitate before getting into the handshake line. He tried to pass Gard in the line without speaking to him, but Gard held Howard back, video shows.

Howard and Gard exchanged words, and the situation escalated. Howard can be seen on video reaching past Gard and hitting a Badgers’ assistant coach on the top of the head.

RELATED: Reaction to post-game scuffle between Michigan’s Juwan Howard and Wisconsin’s Greg Gard

Postgame responses

Hours after the game, the Big Ten released a statement saying it planned to “take swift and appropriate disciplinary action when it completes its review.”

During his postgame news conference, Howard confirmed he didn’t like Wisconsin calling for a timeout with 15 seconds left and the Badgers leading by 15.

“I thought it was not necessary at the moment, especially being a large lead,” Howard said. “Someone touched me, and I think it was very uncalled for, for them to touch me, as we were verbalizing and communicating with one another. That’s what escalated it.”

Gard said he called the timeout because his reserves were in the game and only had four seconds to get the ball past mid-court. A timeout gives them 10 seconds.

“I was not going to put them in position where the ball had already gotten knocked out of bounds, to have to break a press in four seconds,” Gard said.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.