After a roller coaster regular season, the 2021-22 Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team finished the season with a surprising postseason run, winning two NCAA Tournament games before losing to Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen.
The playing rotation will look a bit different next season, especially with Eli Brooks being out of eligibility and DeVante’ Jones declaring for the NBA Draft. Here at Maize n Brew, we thought it would be fun to predict what next year’s playing rotation will look like.
A few important things to note: for the purposes of this article, I’m going to go off the assumption that Hunter Dickinson, Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate return to the team.
I gave my opinion earlier this week on what I think all three guys should do, but with many mock drafts not featuring any Wolverines, it’s more fun to project the best possible playing rotation possible, which would obviously feature all three guys.
Also, with Michigan’s offseason only being a week old, we don’t know much about what Michigan is going to do with the transfer portal. We know the Wolverines have been active and will likely have at least one transfer next year, but this projection will only feature guys currently on the roster and incoming recruits.
Without further ado, here’s what I project Michigan’s playing rotation to be next year.
PG: Frankie Collins
SG: Kobe Bufkin
SF: Caleb Houstan
PF: Moussa Diabate
C: Hunter Dickinson
This feels like a pretty safe bet if all of the front court comes back. Dickinson is obviously Michigan’s best player at the moment, but both Houstan and Diabate have the talent to be better than him with a bit more development.
The backcourt is about to get a lot younger. Part of the reason why the Wolverines were able to make a postseason run was having senior guards to steady the ship as the regular season came to a close.
Collins is incredibly fast and played good on-ball defense. He got better as the year went along at driving in transition and towards the rim under control, growing as a facilitator and proving to be the future at the point guard position.
Bufkin had a pretty short leash last year, but showed flashes of being able to create his own shot while thriving in transition and staying active on defense. With the senior guards leaving, it’s his job to lose in my eyes.
PG: Dug McDaniel
SG: Jett Howard
SF: Jace Howard
PF: Terrance Williams II
C: Tarris Reed Jr.
Reserve: Will Tschetter
Reserve: Gregg Glenn
Reserve: Isaiah Barnes
The second unit is the one that’s most likely to change as the offseason continues. If Diabate, Houstan and Dickinson stay, do-it-all forward Terrance Williams II will likely be the first player off the bench. I’d expect Jace Howard to play more next year, as he showed signs of being a great defender in the few minutes he did play.
We can’t forget about the guys from the 2021 class who redshirted this season, as Will Tschetter has a chance to be an even more talented Evan Smotrycz as a stretch 4 and Isaiah Barnes could ultimately turn into the Swiss Army Knife Williams has been.
That leaves the 2022 recruiting class. It’s a little short on guards, and the back court would be the group most likely to get a transfer, but Dug McDaniel is an incredibly talented point guard who would play a more traditional role as a floor general. I’m excited to see the two-man game he’ll be able to play with Tarris Reed Jr., a talented post who can thrive in the mid-range and with his back to the basket.
A few more talented forwards round out the class — Jett Howard and Gregg Glenn. I’d expect them to have similar roles as Jace Howard did last season: if they play, they’ll likely come off the bench and have the chance to earn more time if they do well in short bursts.
Feel free to offer up your own projections in the comments.