Jalen Rose on ‘Weasel’ Mark Turgeon, Michigan’s Final Four Chances

Head coach Juwan Howard of the Michigan Wolverines walks off the court after being ejected in the game against the Maryland Terrapins during the second half in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten men's basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 12, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Juwan Howard shouldn’t waste his time with Mark Turgeon, Jalen Rose said on the BetMGM Unleashed podcast this week.

In the three decades since Rose and Howard led Michigan’s Fab Five NCAA Tournament run in 1992, the pair have remained close friends. And when Rose saw his friend ejected from Michigan’s win over Maryland in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, he reached out with a recommendation for the Wolverines’ second-year head coach.

I was like ‘Ignore that little weasel.’ To be honest, that’s what I said. That’s not a word I normally use but it seems to fit. The reason why I say that is because he’s been dismissive of Michigan and our program since Juwan got there.

The exchange, in which, according to Rose, Turgeon “may” have made a comment regarding the removal of Michigan’s banners from Howard’s three seasons as a player after NCAA violations relating to an improper benefits scandal over several years. Howard didn’t confirm allegations of the banner comment and Turgeon denied saying it. The exchange cost Howard the final 11 minutes of the Wolverines’ win but it might prove valuable for another Final Four run and on the recruiting trail.

I think it can help define their tourney run to not only rally behind Juwan or rally for [injured guard Isaiah Livers] . . . It gains enthusiasm in your locker room; it really helps with recruits. Just like you guys, those parents and those scholar-athletes were at home watching the game. And you’re like, ‘That’s the kind of guy I want to go play for.

Michigan’s 2020 recruiting class, Howard’s first full class as head coach, featured three top-100, four-star players and ranked 14th nationally and first in the Big Ten (247Sports). Their 2021 class features two five-star, top-10 players in Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate and ranks first nationally. Barring a late change in rankings and/or commitments, it will be their first top-ranked class in the recruiting era. 

Rose also breaks down Michigan’s chances at their third Final Four since 2013 (and why he’d bet on Michigan in the BetMGM $2 Million Bracket Challenge), his love and respect for John Beilein, legendary coaches like Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski struggling when they don’t have the best players, and more.

Listen to BetMGM Unleashed below on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else podcasts are available.

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM