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Eli Brooks officially opts back in for fifth season at Michigan

The Wolverines are getting some major help back in the backcourt.

Florida State v Michigan Photo by Andy Hancock/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball program received a confirmation of massive news on Wednesday afternoon in the form of Eli Brooks returning for a fifth season in Ann Arbor. The fifth-year guard has exercised his option to return for an additional year without penalty due to the NCAA’s paused eligibility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brooks was relied upon for offense last season a lot more than he was this year, which is a testament to how deep this group was. His usage rate dropped to 16 percent on the offensive end of the floor as he slid into a more complementary role. A pretty strong bar has been set for what can be expected for him next season.

Eli Brooks’ stats (2019-21)

Season GP MPG FG % 3PT % FT % Reb Ast Stl Pts
Season GP MPG FG % 3PT % FT % Reb Ast Stl Pts
2019-20 30.0 32.0 41.0 36.4 72.9 3.7 2.0 0.8 10.6
2020-21 27.0 29.9 42.6 39.6 90.9 3.1 3.1 1.1 9.5

Despite his minutes and points per game taking a bit of a hit this year, Brooks was better in almost every statistical category listed above. He shot nearly 40 percent from three and increased his free throw percentage from 72.9 to a career-high 90.9 percent. He also set a career mark of 3.1 assists per game, which is not surprising given that he played the point in certain rotations when Mike Smith was off the floor.

This is great news for Michigan, as its backcourt was set to get a lot younger next season prior to Brooks’ decision to opt back in. Joining him in the guard rotation in 2021-22 is sophomore returnee Zeb Jackson and a pair of true freshmen in Frankie Collins and Kobe Bufkin. Both incoming prospects are ranked inside the top-50 nationally.

Brooks’ scholarship will not count against the 13-man limit under this one-year provision, but they are still full as of this posting. An additional spot could be opened in the form of Franz Wagner declaring for the NBA Draft or other attrition from the program.