‘He wasn’t recruiting me. He was getting to know me’: How Juwan Howard secured Isaiah Barnes’ commitment

Isaiah Barnes has spent the past year flooded with texts and calls from all corners of the country, each a different coach trying to secure a few moments of his time.

It’s a process that is, by nature, exciting and exhausting at once — “really hectic,” in Barnes’ words. And Wednesday afternoon, it’s a process that ended when the 2021 four-star small forward sent out a message of his own, announcing his commitment to Michigan in a 33-second Instagram video.

The origins of that commitment came just two months earlier, when Juwan Howard officially offered Barnes a scholarship on a Zoom call. And while the offer wasn’t completely unexpected — Michigan had seen him play a few times, dating back to a John Beilein visit during Barnes’ sophomore year — it marked the beginning of heavy communication between the two.

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