Basketball Insider: Jett Howard on advice from Iverson and other pros: ‘Kill everything!’

Every week during the college basketball season, and every other week during the offseason former Michigan Basketball standout Tim McCormick joins TMI’s Sam Webb for a podcast called ‘The Michigan Basketball Insider.’ Each show offers a deep dive into the X’s & O’s and statistical analysis from Michigan’s games, commentary on college basketball in the Big Ten and beyond, and interviews with subjects from Tim’s vast array of contacts.

McCormick spent 10 seasons playing in the NBA after being the no. 12 pick in the 1984 draft. Since completing his pro career he has worked as a consultant with NBA players for the last two decades teaching strategies to improve performance and achieve greatness. Additionally, he runs the NBA Players Association’s Top 100 Basketball Camp for the nation’s best high school basketball prospects. Tim also provides color analysis as a broadcaster for ESPN’s college basketball coverage and Fox Sports Detroit’s Detroit Pistons coverage.

Jett Howard joins this week’s episode to reflect upon his standout performances in the Jordan Classic and the Allen Iverson Classic. Attention then turns to the advice he received from Iverson and other pros. Next Howard reflects upon the tough love lessons he learned from his father and brother on the hardwood and memorable stories of growing up with and playing games against the sons of other pros. Howard closes out his appearance talking about the growth of his game and Michigan’s transfer porta pursuits. Tim McCormick and Sam Webb close out the podcast reflecting upon Tim’s attendance at the NBA draft combine and witnessing Moussa Diabate’s impressive performance. The duo then discusses rumblings in league circles about his draft prospects and those of Caleb Houstan. The podcast closes with a discussion of some portal possibilities for Michigan should Diabate and/or Houston go pro.

In the except below Howard reflects upon his interactions with his boyhood idol Allen Iverson and several other pros.

Sam Webb: “One of the unique things about (playing in the all star games) is you were around all those pros… which you have been your whole life… but you’re around pros watching you play and critiquing your game. They had some great things to say. From J.R. Smith. To AI… they were like, ‘man, this dude is a star in the making. Was there anything through your interactions with them during those games and during those weeks that sort of stands with you or stays with you? (Was there any) advice they gave you or things they said about you or your game (that resonate)?

Jett Howard: “Okay, I’ll start with Stephen Jackson because he was my coach. He was just like talking about how your approach the game is a really big thing and how your mentality (is important). Also Darius miles and Quentin Richardson they were there too. It was so many OGs that were there. It was amazing. So (they were) just telling us like how we’re supposed to approach these events and how we’re supposed to (have a certain) mindset when we go against these so-called top guys. I took a lot from Stephen Jackson and he was basically just saying, ‘kill everything in front of you, and don’t really focus on the outside noise and the lights. That’s not important.’ And with AI, he was just like ‘you don’t want to get too entitled’ I don’t want to feel like I’m blowing my head up, but he was just like, ‘it comes natural to you, so just keep working. Keep your head down, keep working. and you’ll be fine. You’ve just got to keep staying in the gym because it comes natural.’ That meant a lot to me, because he’s like my idol. I don’t want to take anything away from my dad because I know he feels a type a way when I say he my favorite (laughter). He’s my favorite player. But him and my dad are like. 1A, 1B when it comes to my favorite players ever. So, it was very emotional, leaving the Iverson Classic. To just take that all in, it was amazing.”

Sam Webb: “You were talking about how it was emotional leaving the Iverson Classic. I watched the video (where) he was like, ‘listen to your dad. Make sure you don’t tune out what he says.’ How did that hit you? How did that strike you… that piece of advice?

Jett Howard: “Man, that was crazy. It all happened so fast. So, I’ll break it down even though yall didn’t ask… but I’ll just break down the scenario on how it went down. We had an award ceremony at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Memphis. So, we’re leaving that and we’re coming in the parking lot. And I’m just like, ‘man, you don’t understand how much of a fan I am of you.’ I didn’t really want to sound like a fanboy to annoy him, but I was just like, ‘man, you don’t understand.’ I didn’t know that he knew my father in any way. I just thought it was like (talking to) another kid that he would see. So, I just went up to him and I was just praising the guy. He was like, ‘man, you’re just such a good person.’ And then he got into my dad. And I was confused. Like, ‘you know who my dad is?’ (Laughter). I didn’t think he knew all of that. (Laughter). But when he started to break that down and just tell me everything I need to know to get to the next level… it was just amazing. If you ask my mom (she’d tell you) I was smiling from ear to ear on the way home. It was just crazy. And she was the one actually taking the video. And he said more amazing, awesome things, but she didn’t get that. But just that whole experience was awesome. I literally have like a life size poster (or Allen Iverson). Two or three (posters)… Not to sound weird anything… in my room since I was like 15/16.”

To view the episode in its entirety, press play on the video embed below.

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