This video clearly shows Howard being physically prevented from leaving by the Wisconsin head coach, and ultimately the assistant coaches and players, before the blow was thrown, with initial contact being made by the Wisconsin head coach. No angle or audio here for any clue on what Howard might have seen/heard that could have triggered his reaction, but the initial contact and aggression did not come from him.
Iím with you in regards to Gard grabbing Howard and then blocking his path to keep moving, that definitely escalated this.
However as far as Howard goes, the confrontation between him and Gard was over, there were several bodies between the two of them and Howard was pushed back out of the center of the whole thing, he then injects himself back into not to say anything but to throw a punch.
Gard definitely owns some of the responsibility here but the leap that Howard took to jump back into the mix to throw a punch is terrible.
Couple this with the fact that just last season Howard had to be dragged off the court after being ejected from a game against Maryland where he was reportedly yelling ĎIíll kill you!Ē To Mark Turgeon, and it really starts to show a pattern of behavior to Michigan in how Juwan Howard is going to conduct himself professionally
Oh yeah, Iím not saying that strike was justified based on Gardís actions. No clue why Howard did that, although Iíve seen elsewhere accounts on the internet that the assistant coach shoved a Michigan player immediately before Howard lunged at him, but I havenít seen video that was clear to me.
I do think itís likely there was something that precipitated Howardís action tho, because after Gard instigated it, Howard is yelling ďDonít touch meĒ for about 15 seconds straight before going at the assistant coach who he had to reach over people to get at. Maybe Howard just completely flipped, but he went from backing/being pushed away demanding people give him space to immediately lunging forward. If that coach, who aggressively joined the fray, pushed a Michigan player in the process, Howardís punishment should fall short of termination, because heís just trying to protect his students at that point.