Competing against some of the most talented high school basketball players in the country, Michigan signee Jett Howard had the best performance of all.
The incoming freshman and son of head coach Juwan Howard was named MVP of the Iverson Classic, held Saturday in Memphis, after scoring 20 points to lead his team to victory.
The 6-foot-7 wing is ranked No. 40 among high school seniors, according to the 247sports composite. He’s part of Michigan’s four-man class that ranks eighth nationally and includes Tarris Reed Jr., who also participated in Saturday’s game.
Both players started. Howard’s team won 120-110 with his father in attendance. The elder Howard will coach two of his sons next season, as Jace will be a junior with the Wolverines.
On Saturday, Jett opened the scoring with a dunk ahead of the pack. He had a few more emphatic slams and showed off a strong offensive package overall, displaying unselfish passing and a variety of shots in the lane.
After he broke a 99-99 tie with a step-through, one-handed floater, the Hall of Famer for whom the event is named was impressed.
“He has everything that it takes to be a superstar on every single levelAllen Iverson said on the CBS Sports broadcast. “It comes so naturally to him, so easy to him.”
Added another former NBA player, JR Smith, who served as an analyst for the game: “He’s the most pro-ready right now.”
With Howard’s team leading by six in the final minute, he held the ball for the entire possession, directing his teammates and isolating his defender. As the shot clock ran down, he crossed over, spun, and hit a bank shot with 22 seconds left to seal the win.
Howard finished 9-of-12 from the field. Reed, a 6-foot-10 center ranked No. 32 in the class, was less impactful, but was still chosen to start in a game with a lot of top talent.
One of Reed’s teammates, Keyonte George, is the No. 5 recruit in the class and heading to Baylor. He was named co-MVP. The game also featured Cason Wallace (No. 7, Kentucky), Kel’el Ware (No. 9, Oregon), and Brandon Miller (No. 13, Alabama), as well as three other top-20 recruits. Michigan State-bound Jaxon Kohler (No. 53) hit some key shots down the stretch for the victors.
Howard was interviewed on the court immediately after the game.
“It was just fun,” Howard said of the experience. “I just tried to have the most fun with it – listen to my coaches and play hard.”
Howard was asked about his excitement level to join a Michigan team that should have high expectations for next season.
“I can’t wait to get to work and build some camaraderie with my teammates,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get to Ann Arbor and win.”