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Barring any late surprises, the Michigan basketball roster is set going into the 2022-2023 season now that the Wolverines landed Youssef Khayat, the Lebanese basketball sensation, on Sunday.
While the Wolverines lost some contributors from last year’s team: Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate to the NBA, Frankie Collins to Arizona State, and Brandon Johns to VCU, Michigan added a couple of key pieces this summer with the additions of Jaelin Llewellyn (Princeton) and Joey Baker (Duke) along with Khayat.
The Wolverines have a solid recruiting class coming in the fall with Juwan Howard’s son, Jett Howard, headlining the class. Since Moussa Diabate declared for the draft, incoming center Tarris Reed should see significant playing time, and point guard Dug McDaniel should see some backup play as well. The bigger question mark from the incoming freshmen will be how does new forward Gregg Glenn fit into this year’s rotation, or does he see a redshirt year?
With all that being said, we are going to do our best to predict what next year’s lineup is going to look like when Michigan takes the court for the first time.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MARCH 12: Jaelin Llewellyn #13 of the Princeton Tigers dribbles the ball during the Ivy League Basketball Tournament Semifinals game against Cornell Big Red at Lavietes Pavilion on March 12, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rachel O’Driscoll/Getty Images)
Starter: Jaelin Llewellyn (21-22 stats: 15.7 points-per-game, four rebounds-per-game, 2.5 assists-per-game, and 39% from 3)
Backup: Dug McDaniel (Incoming freshman)
Michigan is down its top two point guards from last year’s Sweet 16 team after losing Devante’ Jones to graduation, and Frankie Collins to the transfer portal. Collins was pegged to be the starting PG this season and it looked as if Llewellyn would fit right into shooting guard — a more natural position — but now that Collins opted to leave, Llewellyn will have to be the floor general. Llewellyn only averaged 2.5 assists-per-game at Princeton, but he was the main scorer there, and he will have some help on the floor this upcoming season.
Michigan will get a nice uptick in 3-point shooting when it comes to the senior guard since he shot nearly 40% from 3 last year. Jones shot 34% from 3 and Collins shot 16% from 3. With the Wolverines being a poor outside shooting team last season, Llewellyn will surely help there.
Not only does Llewellyn need to be the starting PG on this Michigan team with Collins leaving the program, but there is nobody else on the roster that fits into the backup role other than incoming freshman Dug McDaniel. McDaniel is a 5-foot-11, fast, high-speed guard who has good court vision. It will be interesting to see how his offensive game fits in with the Wolverines.
Nov 16, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Kobe Bufkin (2) goes to the basket on Seton Hall Pirates forward Tyrese Samuel (4) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Kobe Bufkin (21-22 stats: three points-per-game, one rebound-per-game, and 22% from 3)
Backup: Jett Howard (Incoming freshman)
The Wolverines lost their glue guy from the past five years after Eli Brooks ran out of playing years. Brooks was a great team leader and 3-point shooter. I believe that Michigan could try and replace the valuable minutes Brooks game the Wolverines by playing a bigger lineup this year. The maize and blue could move Jett Howard to be the starting shooting guard, but I also believe that Kobe Bufkin will get the first chance.
Bufkin will be going into his sophomore season and has a lot of work to do for his offensive game. Bufkin was an offensive liability at times, especially behind the 3-point line. The 6-foot-4 guard found his role towards the end of the season while playing 10 minutes-per-game, by becoming a slasher and a solid defender. The Wolverines will need to see Bufkin continue to improve his outside shooting, but coach Howard will also like Bufkin’s defense in the starting lineup.
Jett Howard is a 6-foot-7 do-it-all player and he could take some minutes away from Bufkin if coach Howard wants to get more shooting on the court. Jett Howard is projected to be an elite player in his first season in Ann Arbor, so he will get plenty of minutes one way or another.
IMG Academy’s Jett Howard (13) dribbles the ball during the 48th annual City of Palms Classic between IMG Academy and Milton HS on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers, Fla.
Starter: Jett Howard (Incoming freshman)
Backup: Joey Baker (21-22 stats: 4.5 points-per-game and 40% from 3)
The Wolverines lost their five-star freshman to the NBA draft after Caleb Houstan announced he would forgo his three remaining years of eligibility. As mentioned before, Michigan will be getting Jett Howard plenty of playing time.
Howard was the 39th ranked recruit according to 247Sports composite and he has an elite offensive game coming out of high school. Howard played for IMG Academy in Bradenton (Florida) and he has the capabilities to play all three perimeter positions. Michigan fans should be extremely happy after they see Howard take the court for the Wolverines after seeing his ability to shoot the 3 and play defense.
Also mentioned earlier, the Wolverines had a really rough year shooting the 3. Coach Howard made a point to bring in shooters via the transfer portal and he did just that bringing in Joey Baker from Duke. Baker was a former top-40 player in high school heading into Duke and was a high four-star recruit. Baker got lost in the shuffle with the Blue Devils after they brought in five-star after five-star, but Baker does one thing really well: shooting the 3. Baker could end up getting the nod as the starter here if Michigan moves Jett Howard to shooting guard, but for the time being, he will be the backup for the Wolverines.
Michigan’s Terrance Williams II reacts after hitting a basket during the first half of a college basketball game against Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Starter: Terrance Williams (21-22 stats: 4.7 points-per-game, 2 rebounds-per-game, and 39% from 3)
Backup: Youseff Khayat (21-22 FIBA stats: 16.7 points-per-game, 7.6 rebounds-per-game, 43%s from the field, and 35.2% from 3 during 33 games with Limoges)
Michigan lost its other five-star freshman from last year’s team when Moussa Diabate decided to stay in the NBA draft, but the Wolverines have two players that may be a better fit to play alongside Hunter Dickinson.
I believe that Terrance Williams will get the nod to begin the season. Williams will be entering his junior season in Ann Arbor and he has shown the grit to play against anyone. The 6-foot-7 forward can bang around in the post if needed and he has shown the touch to hit clutch shots deep into the game. The Washington, D.C product is a good compliment to Hunter Dickinson on the court.
The primary backup here should be Youseff Khayat, who has the potential to do a lot of damage for Michigan, but it may take him a while to get used to college ball in the Big Ten. Khayat, who is 19 years old, is 6-foot-8 and can also play the ‘3’ position, but I believe his game figures to play the ‘4’ in Ann Arbor. If Khayat’s role is to play in the second unit for the Wolverines, he could score some points off the bench and lead Michigan’s bench in scoring next year. The European product has a multitude of ways to score and has been noted to play good defense as well.
I also believe that Juwan Howard will get Jace Howard some playing time behind Khayat as well. Jace Howard only saw four minutes-per-game last year, but he wasn’t afraid to get into the action and do what needed to be done to help his team win.
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 19: Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 76-68 during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 19, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Starter: Hunter Dickinson (21-22 stats: 18.6 points-per-game, 8.6 rebounds-per-game, 1.5 blocks-per-game, 56% from the field, and 33% from 3)
Backup: Tarris Reed (Incoming freshman)
Not a big surprise here, but Hunter Dickinson will reclaim his starting role at center for Michigan next season. Dickinson is an All-Big Ten player and has the capabilities to have a double-double every game. The soon-to-be junior has developed an outside game where he shot 32% from 3 during his sophomore campaign in Ann Arbor.
Michigan should continue its inside-out offensive game plan again next year, and Dickinson is a player that should contend for the Big Ten Player of the Year, and possibly the National Player of the Year.
Where it gets tricky is who will be the primary backup? I would think it will be the 6-foot-10 incoming freshman, Tarris Reed. Reed was the 33rd ranked player in the nation according to 247Sports composite and he chose Michigan over Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, and others. Reed would have the size to come in and rebound for Michigan when Dickinson needs a breather.
Another player that may see a few minutes here is Will Tschetter who red-shirted last year. Tschetter is better suited for the ‘4’, but if Michigan wants to play small ball, then Tschetter would be a good player to post up down low.