'BAMA Magazine/BamaMag.com had a conversation with Jon Horford to discuss his intentions. He has not spoken to any other schools as of Thursday and remains wide open in his recruitment. Michigan Coach John Beilein limits a player from choosing another Big Ten institution or a future opponent on next year's schedule. A transfer student-athlete can take five official visits. The 6-10, 245 pound forward had unofficially visited the Tuscaloosa campus as a high school prospect. "It was really nice. Anthony Grant is a really good guy. Our family has a great history with him," said Horford. "The SEC is a great conference, too. Alabama is definitely an option."
Schools must receive an official release from Michigan in order to contact the student-athlete. Horford will have one year of NCAA eligibility remaining and must enroll in a graduate program to compete for another college/university. "Where ever I go I just want to do things the right way. I expect to prove that I can contribute to another program. I have a desire to win coming from a winning culture at Michigan. I expect to continue that where ever I go." Michigan compiled an 87-33 record during the past four seasons with four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and shared the Big Ten Championship in 2012 and won the title outright in 2014.
"I want to go somewhere and play major minutes for a winning program. I want to contribute in a way I know I can contribute," said Horford who appeared in all 37 games this year, starting seven. The Maize and Blue tri-captain snared 10-plus rebounds in three games with a season high 15 rebounds against South Carolina State. Six times in Big Ten conference play he totaled seven-plus rebounds. Although he averaged only 13.8 minutes per game, Horford finished with a team high 26 blocks including four against then no. 1 Arizona. He scored 3.8 ppg and snagged 4.2 rebounds per contest during the 2013-14 season. "The thing that I learned is most important is how to connect with people on a level that is deeper than basketball itself and through that earn the trust of my teammates," said the English major expected to earn an undergraduate degree in May. "Having them put their faith in you because you take time to invest in a relationship with them, I feel like that is the best thing. When you really care about people like I care about my teammates, then it makes you work harder. It makes you want to have success together and make you want to do really good things."
Horford offers valuable intangibles. "Leadership, experience and a good work ethic are things I can bring to a program. My coaches will vouch that I have worked harder than anyone in these last four years. I am going to put in time to build relationships with all my future teammates and coaches in order for us to be put in the best position possible to have success as a team," said the thoughtful Grand Ledge High School (MI) product. "This isn't just about me going to a school and scoring as many points as I can. This is about me going to a school where the coach trusts and believes in me and is willing to play me major minutes in order for us as a collective group to have success."
Horford was primarily an inside player capable of knocking down mid-range jumpers for Michigan but seeks a coach willing to extend the shot range. He has confidence from the arc even though he attempted a mere 10 treys in 107 career games sinking one as a freshman. "I hope wherever I go I find a coach who trusts me to play my game. As much as I love Michigan and was very proud to have been part of the championships and success here, I've not played my actual game at the University of Michigan," he said expressing a desire to earn a green light from the next coach to launch shots from the three-point line. "I am looking forward to finding a program and working on whatever I have to do for the coach and proving to them there is a lot more to my game than people have seen." He wishes to continue as a defensive force in the paint and consistently have touches on offense.
When Horford was growing up he rarely viewed basketball on television. He watched older brother Al Horford, a two-time NCAA Champion with Florida and first round, third overall 2007 NBA selection of the Atlanta Hawks. Anthony Grant was an assistant with the Gator staff at the time. Did he emulate his sibling or father, Tito Horford, a second round pick, 39th overall, of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988 after a career with LSU and Miami? No, he established his own identity. "I just tried to do my own thing," he stated. Creativity is not limited to the hardwood. Horford aspires to be a writer. He penned a sports blog story for "The Huffington Post" entitled "A Bond Beyond March Madness".
No timetable has been set but specific criteria must be met. "I'd like to be able to make this decision as soon as possible but I have to make sure it is the right decision, a sound decision that will be good not only for myself but also for the program," Horford stated. Humbled by the reserve role with Michigan, the second chance presents an opportunity for the ultra-competitive big man to realize his full potential.