It’s been a busy offseason for the Michigan Wolverines with a few guys getting drafted, a few guys graduating and a few guys transferring. The team will look a lot different than it did last year.
A roster considered young last year got a little bit younger, and Michigan has a lot of scoring to replace with seven of it’s top 10 scorers from last season no longer with the team. Thankfully, Juwan Howard and his staff have proven to be active recruiters who can not only form bonds with high school prospects, but can also swing experienced players in the transfer portal who can make an instant impact.
With the commitment of Youssef Khayat over the weekend, Michigan is officially out of scholarships for the 2022-23 season. With that in mind, here’s what I would project to be the rotation for the Wolverines to start next season.
PG: Jaelin Llewellyn
SG: Kobe Bufkin
SF: Jett Howard
PF: Terrance Williams II
C: Hunter Dickinson
First guys off the bench: Tarris Reed, Youssef Khayat, Joey Baker
Other bench guys who could earn minutes: Jace Howard, Isaiah Barnes, Will Tschetter, Dug McDaniel, Gregg Glenn
As you can see, there’s plenty of new faces and a lot of inexperienced guys, but there’s still plenty of talent to go around here. The lone returning starter here is Dickinson, who should lead the team in scoring and rebounding again while being the main focal point on offense.
The Wolverines would be wise to surround Dickinson with shooters to kick out to, and that’s exactly what they’ve done based on this rotation. Princeton transfer Jaelin Llwellyn (14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists a game while shooting 38.6% from three last season) will be the starting point guard, and I expect Bufkin and Jett Howard to start alongside him.
Dickinson is one of many predicting this will be a breakout year for Bufkin. If he doesn’t show much progress in his sophomore year, expect Howard or Joey Baker to take some of his minutes at the 2.
Howard and Baker might end up being Michigan’s best three-point shooters, but they have very different trajectories. Baker should be a veteran leader who can hit threes off the bench, but Howard has the potential to grow into Michigan’s best scorer and go-to guy.
The 3 and 4 spots are the biggest question marks on the roster. While I expect Jett to start at the 3, I could see his older brother Jace earning minutes as a defensive stalwart, and Isaiah Barnes earning time as an athletic two-way wing.
As for the 4 spot, much like how Brandon Johns Jr. got the start at the beginning of the year largely because of his experience, I expect Terrance Williams II to be in the starting lineup at the beginning of the year. He’s been a key bench piece the last few seasons and has chemistry with Dickinson, his former AAU teammate.
Hopefully Williams II is ready to be thrust into a bigger role and if not, Khayat and Tschetter should both get some time at the 4. Both guys should be able to stretch the floor, and Khayat showed in France’s U21 program his knack for creating his own shot.
I’d also like Michigan to at least experiment with playing Tarris Reed next to Dickinson. Reed is Michigan’s highest ranked player in the 2022 class who should be able to make an impact on both ends and remind fans of Moussa Diabate. At the very least, he should be the first big man off the bench as the backup 5.
That leaves the last two guys in the 2022 class: Dug McDaniel and Gregg Glenn. While I think McDaniel will be the backup point guard, with all the options at the 4 and the Khayat commitment, Glenn seems bound for a redshirt season.
Michigan’s roster will be pretty young, but there’s talent all over. This team might go through some growing pains like last year’s squad, but with Dickinson and the incoming transfers, it’d be shocking if they don’t finish in the top half of the conference standings.