Michigan coach Juwan Howard needed to find a spark to help motivate his team ahead of their Big Ten-sealing game against Michigan State on Thursday.
Who better than Spartan Draymond Green, the notoriously fierce competitor and master trash-talker?
Howard said he used a video of Green trash-talking Michigan to motivate his players just days after they suffered a demoralizing loss to Illinois. The tactic worked: Michigan beat the Spartans 60-59, securing the team’s first Big Ten regular season title since 2014.
“He had a nice little video I wanted the guys to listen to,” Howard said postgame. “I think they really enjoyed watching it and listening to the words that were said.”
Howard declined to discuss the video’s contents or origin, but players said it showed Green hoping for Michigan to “never” win a game.
“It felt amazing (to win the Big Ten) and then it’s even sweeter to do it against Michigan State,” Michigan grad transfer Mike Smith said. “Coach showed us a video of Draymond Green. He was just saying he wished we would never win a game ever. That just shows how aggressive this matchup is.”
Next up for the Wolverines: Winning the Big Ten tournament, securing a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament and competing for a national championship:
“The Big Ten title … that’s a high accomplishment for me,” senior Isaiah Livers said. “We all play like brothers. I want the (national championship), too. We’re going to go win a Big Ten championship, have a March Madness run and, fingers crossed, go get that natty.”