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Expectations for Michigan’s freshman this season

Five players are part of the incoming 2022 class.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the 2022-23 Michigan men’s basketball team. While we know Hunter Dickinson and Jaelin Llewellyn will be big contributors, a large portion of the playing rotation will be made up of young players with lots of talent but little to no college basketball experience.

How these young players grow into their roles will ultimately define how successful this team. While Michigan lost a lot of key pieces from last year, a talented 2022 recruiting class is looking to replace some of that production and make their presence felt as they get settled in.

Today we will go over expectations solely for the upcoming season for these freshmen, not entire Michigan careers. Additionally, while there’s clearly a non-zero chance Gregg Glenn and/or Youssef Khayat could be redshirted based on the current roster structure, we will go off the assumption that everyone in the 2022 class will be available this season.

Without further ado, here are what fans should expect, starting with the player I think will have the biggest role out of all the freshman on this team.

Jett Howard, Small Forward

Four-star recruit, ranked 42nd in class on 247Sports composite, 14th-best small forward, 10th-best Florida recruit

With Caleb Houstan now coming off the bench for the Orlando Magic, I would expect Howard to assume the role of small forward. And there’s a case to be made he is the best three-point shooter on this team.

When watching Howard at IMG academy, you can see he’s much more than a marksman. You can see in the game against Montverde below he can slash to the rim, use a pump fake to keep defenders honest and finish through contact (he showcases all of these skills in a sweet and-one around the 5:39 mark).

On paper, Howard appears to be Michigan’s third or fourth scoring option. As fans saw last season, the lack of a third option made the offense look stagnant, especially when Dickinson was in foul trouble or Eli Brooks wasn’t hitting shots.

If Howard can prove to be a reliable scoring option for this team, it significantly raises their offensive potential. Draft experts have taken notice of that potential, as Howard appeared on a few way-too-early 2023 NBA mock drafts earlier this summer.

While he isn’t the highest ranked recruit in Michigan’s class, he certainly has the most hype around him. If he can live up to that hype, I’d imagine he’d be a fan favorite fairly quickly.

Tarris Reed Jr., Center

Four-star recruit ranked 35th in class on 247Sports composite, 8th among centers, 3rd among recruits from Missouri.

Reed Jr. is the highest ranked incoming freshman for the Wolverines and it’s easy to see why. He’s dominant around the rim, crafty in the post and utilizes a quick and effective turn around jumper if he can’t muscle his way to the rim.

“He plays like an old dude,” associated head coach Phil Martelling said about Reed Jr. on the Defend The Block podcast in September. “He can really screen, he’s a great help defender, he talks all the time, he catches the ball on rebounds, he can catch, his footwork is terrific coming off the ball screen, which we run a lot of. He is a very willing learner, and he’s improved immensely.”

I’d imagine Reed Jr. will be one of the first guys off the bench, replacing Dickinson at the 5. Unless he can prove he can reliably stretch the floor and play the 4 alongside Michigan’s best player, it may for him to get more than 10-15 minutes per game.

Dug McDaniel, Point Guard

Four-star recruit ranked 82d in his class on 247Sports composite, 14th-best point guard, 5th-best recruit from Virginia

Out of all the freshman, McDaniel has probably received the most praise from the coaching staff this pre-season, as head coach Juwan Howard said he’s a “special player” who may even play alongside Llewellyn at times.

Much like Frankie Collins last year, I’d expect McDaniel to come off the bench and give Llewellyn a breather while running the second unit.

The one spot on the depth chart where Michigan is the most sparse is shooting guard. Kobe Bufkin, Joey Baker and Jace Howard will fight for time there but if McDaniel lives up to the hype coaches have given him, he might spend more time at the 2 as well.

Youssef Khayat, Small Forward

Not ranked on 247Sports composite

The latest player to commit out of anyone in this class, Khayat spent his summer helping Lebanon to the finals in the FIBA Asia Cup.

The 6-foot-9 forward thrived with Limoges CSP in France’s U21 program in one of the better youth leagues in Europe, averaging 17.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He also got the chance to travel with Lebanon’s senior national team, who won the country’s first ever FIBA Arab Championship.

Because of his length, he should be able to guard multiple positions in the Big Ten. Combine that with his three-point stroke and his ability to thrive in transition, and he could see some minutes as the eighth or ninth man as a spark plug off the bench.

Gregg Glenn, Power Forward

Ranked 120th in his class on the 247Sports composite, 21st-best power forward, 16th-best recruit from Florida.

Given how many options Michigan has at the 4, Glenn seems like the most likely candidate to get redshirted. If he does get playing time this year, expect it to be off the bench in short spurts.

He’s a solid rebounder and defender, and Martelli said he plays with a lot of energy, and that he’s a bit of a tweener position-wise.

“Highly competitive young guy,” Martelli said. “Still developing, which is a good thing. Is he a wing? Is he a forward? But I think the thing that jumps out is he has a competitive edge. He competes on possessions, he competes when the ball goes off the backboard, he has a competitive streak and that showed in the three games in Europe.”