2020-21 Season

‘COVID Rules, fellas’: Why Juwan Howard is in no rush to trim his rotation

Through two Michigan basketball games, 10 different players have played double-digit minutes. The leading scorer in the opener against Bowling Green, Chaundee Brown, came off the bench. The catalyst in Sunday’s narrow overtime win over Oakland, Hunter Dickinson, also did not start. Five different players have scored at least 17 points, and none of them is Franz Wagner, who appeared the strong favorite to lead the team in scoring this year.

This is hardly abnormal. Early season college basketball tends to breed experimentation and evaluation. Lineups that see the floor in November often never see the light of day come march.

This year maybe more than most, though, that seems like an active strategic choice rather than a feeling out process. With positive COVID tests already sweeping the college basketball landscape, and threatening to upend the Big Ten football season, Howard knows depth could dictate the fate of his season.

“I’ll tell you right now, we don’t have enough time on this Zoom, nor do I wanna spend an hour explaining to you how we’re gonna break down our rotation,” Howard said Tuesday. “But I would just leave you with a few words: All hands on deck. We’re gonna need each and every guy on our roster this season.”

He later added: “This is COVID rules, fellas. So game by game. All hands on deck.”

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