COLUMN: 10 players Michigan basketball should target in the transfer portal
It’s scrambling mode for Michigan basketball.
After Caleb Love de-committed from Michigan on Wednesday night — or forced out — after an admissions issue, the Wolverines are left with three open scholarships for the 2023-’24 season.
Juwan Howard has two incoming transfers who are supposed to play next season in Nimari Burnett and Tray Jackson, but neither has officially signed with Michigan quite yet. The maize and blue have one commitment in the 2023 recruiting class in George Washington — who has signed.
The transfer portal is starting to get bare with top-end talent, but there are still some good targets left on the board. We are going to show you 10 players who the Wolverines should target with their three scholarships remaining for next season.
Former team: Toledo
247Sports ranking: four-star, 31st-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 36.5% from 3
This is probably the most logical target left on the board for Michigan. The former Toledo Rocket would bring experience to the Wolverines’ backcourt by playing four seasons with Toledo and playing more than 30 minutes per game the past two seasons. Dennis just got done taking an official visit to Michigan, but the bad news is, he has a Crystal Ball by 247Sports to go to Illinois. With Michigan losing Caleb Love, Juwan Howard may be able to swoop in and land the guard.
Former team: Tennessee
247Sports ranking: four-star, 57th-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 10.8 points, five rebounds, two assists, and shot 51.3% from the field
Olivier Nkamhoua is currently going through the draft process and wanting to see if he has what it takes to stay in the NBA draft and go pro. But Michigan has been linked to the Finland ball player and the Wolverines would be a great spot for him. Michigan struggled finding consistent production from the ‘4’ last season and Juwan Howard could slot him there Day 1.
Ernest Udeh Jr.
Former team: Kansas
247Sports ranking: four-star, 15th-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 75.3% from the field
The 6-foot-11 center was a freshman last season with Kansas, but after landing Hunter Dickinson, Udeh decided to transfer away. Michigan desperately needs center help. The Wolverines only have one true center on the roster in Tarris Reed Jr. and Udeh would be a great backup to Reed.
Former team: North Dakota State
247Sports ranking: four-star, third-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 17.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 52.1% from the field
This one is more of a ‘give him a call and see what happens’ type of deal. Grant Nelson is currently the top-ranked uncommitted prospect left, but I’m not really sure how much interest there is from the 6-foot-11 forward. Nelson can easily play both the ‘4’ or ‘5’ spot and would be an immediate impact type of player on the offensive end of the court. He is currently going through the NBA draft process too, but if that doesn’t work out, Ann Arbor could be a possible destination.
Former team: Vanderbilt
247Sports ranking: four-star, 32nd-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 50.2% from the field, and 36% from 3.
The 6-foot-4 guard isn’t going to come in next season and lead the team in scoring (most likely), but Tyrin Lawrence has the ability to score and play perimeter defense. Michigan needs a guard to fill out the rotation with Dug McDaniel and Jaelin Llewellyn, and Lawrence would be helpful to play both the ‘2’ and ‘3’.
Former team: Oral Roberts
247Sports ranking: three-star, 184th-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 51.7% from the field, and 32.4% from 3
Who doesn’t like a 7-foot-5 center that can shoot 3s? Juwan Howard sure likes his big guys, and Connor Vanover would be an excellent change of pace center to relieve Tarris Reed Jr. Vanover started his career at Arkansas before transferring to Oral Roberts. Since he played in the SEC, Vanover has played against high-level competition before. If I were Juwan Howard, it’s definitely worth checking in on him.
Former team: Southeast Missouri State
247Sports ranking: three-star, 168th-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 18.1 points, 5.1 assists, 39.8% from the field, 36.1% from 3
There is no known link between the 5-foot-10 point guard and Michigan, but he is an intriguing option. Phillip Russell is a volume-scoring guard who attempted over 13 shots a game last year and is effective enough behind the arc. Russell hasn’t played against high-level competition, so it may take him a little bit of time to get adjusted to the Big Ten.
Former team: Tennessee
247Sports ranking: four-star, sixth-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and shot 41.1% from the field
Julian Phillips is a former five-star recruit and played one season with Tennessee. He is currently exploring the NBA draft and has been mocked in some. While it seems as if Phillips could stay in the draft, Juwan Howard would be wise to make an attempt to get the former high-end recruit. Phillips could play either the ‘3’ or ‘4’ at Michigan.
Former team: Creighton
247Sports ranking: four-star, 19th-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 11.8 points. six rebounds, 1.6 assists, 42.3% from the field, 31.1% from 3
Arthur Kaluma is another player looking into the NBA draft. Many people will remember him helping Creighton make a big run in the Big Dance. Kaluma has the ability to play both the ‘3’ or ‘4’ at Michigan with a chance to have a starring role in Ann Arbor.
Former team: Utah Valley
247Sports ranking: four-star, 17th-ranked transfer prospect
2022-’23 stats: 11.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and shot 60% from the field
Aziz Bandaogo is the top-ranked center left on the board and center is big position of need for Michigan. He hails from Senegal and would make for a fun project for Juwan Howard. He has great size standing 7-foot tall. Bandaogo has two years left of eligibility and could be a good tandem with Tarris Reed Jr.