2022 in Review
There was a lot of excitement heading in 2022. After winning the Big Ten and hitting the Elite Eight in 2021, the Wolverines brought in the top recruiting class in the land and returned Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks, and many thought the success would continue.
It did not continue. Five star freshmen Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate played heavy minutes, but were very inconsistent, as freshmen are wont to be. The team didn’t look very comfortable until late in the season, but they did go from the bubble to the Sweet Sixteen and gave fans a bit of optimism heading into this season.
Still, they had another round of heavy attrition. Houstan and Diabate are in the NBA, while fellow big recruit Frankie Collins fled to Arizona State. Point guard DeVante Jones ran out of eligibility, while backup Zeb Jackson headed to VCU. Who will Juwan Howard run out there this season? Read on.
PG Jaelin Llewellyn, 6’2’’ Senior: For the third straight year, Michigan hits the portal for their lead guard, this time Princeton transfer Llewellyn. Juwan Howard has had success with this with Mike Smith and DeVante Jones, and Llewellyn is a former four star prospect who put up good shooting numbers (49/38/70) last year in the Ivy League. The question mark here, besides the normal wonder on how his game translates to the B1G, is that he didn’t post an assist rate of more than 15% in any of his seasons and operated more like a scoring guard. Princeton was a bit weird and their center led them in assists, but it is something to watch. After him, Michigan is looking at freshman Dug McDaniel for a point guard.
SG Kobe Bufkin, 6’4’’ Sophomore: Bufkin played at the bottom of the rotation last year, and never really showed much of his game. He’s a former top 50 recruit and all the comments about him have been positive. He profiles as a guy who can shoot well and attack the basket, and Michigan is counting on him to be a major scoring option.
SF Jett Howard, 6’6’’ Freshman: I usually don’t put freshmen in the starting lineup unless it is absolutely necessary. However, I’ll make an exception for the coach’s kid and top fifty recruit Jett. He profiles as a versatile player with a good shot who can play multiple positions. Howard has a few options here, so it is probably a committee approach if no one emerges.
PF Terrance Williams, 6’7’’ Junior: The rare veteran on the team, Williams figures to start after coming off the bench last year. His slash line last year was good (52/39/79), but it was on pretty low volume. He’s a physical presence, but didn’t rebound much. He’s another guy who will need to show some real improvement for Michigan to find success this season.
C Hunter Dickinson, 7’1’’ Junior: The straw that stirs the drink, Dickinson is easily Michigan’s best player and probably the best returning player in the B1G. He’s a great scorer, passer, and rebounder, and even added some stretch to his game last season, shooting 33% from three. His main weakness is the only reason he’s not in the NBA, as he struggles to guard out to the perimeter. For the college game, though, he’s just fine, and Michigan will lean on him for all the things as the new group learns to play together.
SG Joey Baker, 6’6’’ Senior: Baker is a veteran transfer from Duke who never quite found a role there. He’ll be in his fifth season this year, and could definitely find himself starting just due to Michigan’s youth. He profiles as a guy who will stand around the three point line and shoot threes. It’s the one thing he does well and should fit with what I assume Michigan will do this season, which is throw the ball to Dickinson and let him score or throw it out to a shooter.
F Isaiah Barnes, 6’7’’ Sophomore: Barnes barely played last season, appearing in just two games, and applied for a redshirt. I’m unclear if he actually received one, so consider him as possibly a freshman, maybe a freshman and a half. In any event, he’s a former four star recruit who profiles as an athletic wing who can score and defend.
PF Jace Howard, 6’7’’ Sophomore: The coach’s other kid has been mostly a garbage time player his first two seasons. It’s possible he carves out a bigger role this year, though he was always a guy who was mostly on Michigan’s roster due to who his father is as opposed to what he brings to the team.
C Tarris Reed, 6’10’’ Freshman: Now we hit the freshman portion of the roster, and Reed figures to be part of the rotation, because Dickinson can’t play all the minutes. He hit 35th on the composite and is Michigan’s top recruit. He profiles as a big body who can score in and out of the post, though lacking the athleticism to be an NBA guy or bigtime defender.
PG Dug McDaniel, 5’11’’ Freshman: A four star prospect who hit 82nd on the composite, McDaniel may also have a big role this season because of the lack of point guard options on the team. He profiles as a natural point guard and passer who loves to push the ball in transition. The knocks are he may not be a great shooter and is pretty small - some have listed him at 5’8’’ instead of 5’11’’.
SF Gregg Glenn, 6’7’’ Freshman: Another four star prospect who hit 120 on the composite, Glenn is a versatile wing who could get a few minutes this year. He profiles as a guy who can pass and defend, but struggles with his outside shooting.
SF Youssef Khayat, 6’8’’ Freshman: A true wildcard for Michigan, Khayat was a late addition to the class out of Lebanon and no one seems to know anything about him. He has no ranking on 247, and MGoBlog pretty much just eyeballed some old tape. Despite that, he’s been mentioned as a possible starter due to his experience with the French U21 team and the Lebanon national team. Maybe he’s a great scorer, or a great defender. He’s whatever you want him to be until he plays.
PF Will Tschetter, 6’8’’ Freshman: The final member of the team is redshirt freshman Tschetter, who was a three star prospect, and profiles as a lurchy white shooter who can rebound. Clearly, Howard is trying to turn Michigan into Wisconsin.
BoilerUp89: Michigan lost a lot of talent from last year’s team (Brooks, Jones, Johns, Diabate, and Houston). Dickinson is back and is joined by a talented recruiting class by the lack of veterans outside of Dickinson and Llewellyn has me doubting their ability to compete for the B1G title. Llewellyn in particular is a guy I’m not nearly as high on as some - his 3 point shooting was great in Ivy league games but rather poor against high major competition. As good as the incoming freshman are - let’s not forget how good last year’s class was either and they went just 11-9 in the B1G despite a better surrounding cast.
MaximumSam: Man, I dunno. Dickinson is great, so this team isn’t going to be bad. If Bufkin emerges, Lewellyn can play, they find a small forward, and Williams makes a jump, then this team can be pretty good. All those things could happen. At the very least, surrounding Dickinson with guys who do nothing but shoot threes should carry them. I’m skeptical that they will contend for the B1G, but given I’m skeptical of most teams this year, they have a puncher’s chance.
Daily Hoosier: The Juwan Howard era of Michigan basketball is still a very much an unproven and uncertain product. Yes, there was the 23-5 Big Ten title during the fan-free 2020-21 season, but in his other two years Howard’s Wolverines have gone just 38-27 overall, and 21-19 in the league. Couple that with him slapping a Wisconsin coach in the face, a dance with an NBA coaching opportunity, and heavy roster turnover — and it isn’t clear which way this thing is headed. A third mediocre season in four tries would be an interesting turn in his at the moment still promising tenure.
Inside the Hall: The range of outcomes for this Michigan team is wide. The Wolverines have the talent to compete for a Big Ten championship. For that to happen, Dickinson must take his game to another level. Michigan’s guard depth is a legitimate question, which could be an issue if there are any injuries. Michigan has to make major strides defensively after finishing just 74th nationally last season in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings.
BT Powerhouse: However, Howard and his staff will now have to turn back to the drawing board. The roster suffered massive attrition in the offseason and the Wolverines will now enter this fall with much uncertainty. Four starters and two key reserves are gone, including key players like Brooks, Jones, and Diabate. It will put plenty of pressure on the few returners and newcomers to hit the ground running.
The good news is that the roster remains talented. Dickinson should (again) be a force down low and Michigan adds plenty of talent elsewhere as well, including two transfers with decent potential. Assuming some of the newcomers are ready to play, Michigan should be poised for another NCAA trip and some solid success.