Juwan Howard on Michigan’s Morale Support from Isaiah Livers this Tourney

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As Michigan goes for their second Final Four in the last three NCAA Tournaments, and third in the last eight tonight, one shouldn’t forget about one of the guys who really got them where they are this season- Isaiah Livers. The team’s second leading scorer and minutes leader was really the guy who made Michigan go this season, but he remains out indefinitely with a stress fracture.

He’s missed the entire NCAA Tournament and he won’t be back if/when Michigan advances to the season’s final weekend. Livers, described as a “do-it-all forward who projects as a glue guy at the next level. A great outside shooter who is very efficient with his touches” by NBA Draft Room, has been out since Michigan’s Big Ten Tournament opener vs Maryland.

That’s when team medical staff diagnosed his foot injury. Michigan coach Juwan Howard described the role Livers is filling from the bench during their deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

“We don’t make excuses here at Michigan,” the Chicago native and CVS high grad said.

“We feel so sorry for Isaiah with the injury. During any time of the season when a player goes down with an injury, it’s very unfortunate, and you feel, and your heart breaks for that player. Isaiah, all the hard work he’s put in, senior year, and get to a point where end of the season injuries you cannot control.

“Our guys band together like brothers, be there for their brother, they lift them up and keep their spirits. He’s been amazing on the sidelines as far as with his injury and keeping guys engaged and being another coach out there for us. But it’s great to see that other guys have stepped up, and it’s been collectively as a group where guys have stepped up with his absence.”

Juwan Howard, a Michigan man himself (sorry, March Madness coverage means including obvious facts like these, for the tourist college basketball fans) is synonymous with being a part of the Fab 5, the game changing group of freshmen from the early ’90s, who accomplished things that frosh simply weren’t supposed to do at the time.

Now he leads a group that has a good mix of youth and experience.

“We have Hunter Dickinson and Franz Wagner, who are very young, and those two guys are starting lineup. It’s been great to coach all the guys, whether it’s upperclassmen or underclassmen,” said Howard.

“Our two younger guys have a high IQ, and it’s been beautiful just to learn from them just as much as our seniors. But we’re grinding, man, and we’re doing it collectively.

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“It’s beautiful just to see the development that’s happening before our eyes.”

If you are betting on the rest of March Madness this season make sure to check out BetQL. They have NCAA Tournament picks, moneyline picks, over under picks, for every single game every day.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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