When looking at the current roster for the Michigan men’s basketball team, there are so many question marks heading into next season. This roster could look very different than it did last season, with guys potentially leaving for the draft or transferring away.
It’s late March, so it’s hard to project what Michigan’s playing rotation is going to be, but I’m going to try my damnedest. Couple notes before going into this:
- We already know that Isaiah Barnes has entered the transfer portal, so he’s out of the picture. It’s hard to project who transfers and who doesn’t, so for this article, I’m doing this projection assuming that no other players transfer out.
- For the sake of this exercise, I’m going off the assumption that both Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin enter the draft. Both guys are projected first-round picks, they both flashed enough of their potential this past season, and in a Brian Windhorst fingers moment, they both sat out one or both games of the NIT with injuries and weren’t out when Michigan still had NCAA tournament hopes.
- Also, to make this more fun, I will go off the assumption that both Jaelin Llewellyn and Joey Baker return for another year. Llewellyn may not be available at the start of the season with his ACL tear, but he has another year of eligibility if he wants to come back. Additionally, Baker confirmed recently that he applied for a waiver to redshirt his freshman season and get another year of eligibility, which he said he’d use at Michigan.
Without further ado, here is my way-too-early rotation projection to start next season.
Starting lineup: McDaniel (PG), transfer portal guy X (SG), Baker (SF), Williams (PF), Dickinson (C)
If Bufkin leaves, the Wolverines will have an obvious need at the guard spot. 2023 commit George Washington III can play the 2-guard, but he’s a freshman and probably won’t start to start the year. Llewellyn’s injury is a question mark, and Youssef Khayat looked shaky in NIT minutes.
I’d think that with one of the two roster spots freed up by Jett and Kobe leaving, the Wolverines would pursue another guard like Butler’s Jackson Paveletzke to play alongside McDaniel, who had an up-and-down season but showed enough to retain the starting job in my opinion.
To fill out the rest of the starters, Baker starts at the 3 as one of Michigan’s best shooters and offensive players, and All-Big Ten center Hunter Dickinson and forward Terrance Williams II would both be seniors. Dickinson is an obvious starter, since he’s been Michigan’s best player the last few seasons.
I would think Williams II would get the benefit of the doubt and start the year as the starting 4 because he’d be a senior and maybe a captain, but looking at the current roster, there’s lot of guys who could take minutes from him if he struggles.
Key pieces off the bench: Llewellyn (PG), Washington III (SG), Howard (SF), Tschetter (PF), Reed Jr. (C)
If he returns this season, it makes sense to pair Llewellyn next to Washington III in the second unit, giving the young guard an college basketball veteran he can learn from and play off of.
This roster lacks 3s in general, so I have Jace Howard, one of Michigan’s better defenders, as the small forward in the second unit. I could easily see Tschetter and Reed Jr. being the first two guys off the bench; if either of them make the sophomore leap, I could see them both earning more minutes and taking minutes away from Williams II.
Also, the 4 spot is a logjam for the Wolverines. Because of that, I wouldn’t be shocked if Tschetter either hits the transfer portal in the next few weeks or leaves next season if he gets as many DNPs as he did in 2022-23.
Question marks: Khayat (SG/SF), Glenn (PF/C), Kante (PF/C), extra roster spot for transfer portal guy X
Coach Howard has not been shy about going to the transfer portal, so if they have another roster spot, I’d assume they’d go after another guy. They’ve already reached out to a few players, including Pitt’s John Hugley IV and Wofford’s B.J, Mack.
That leaves three more scholarship players on the roster: Khayat, and two bigs in Gregg Glenn and 2023 commit Papa Kante. Depending on how the preseason shakes out, Kante might get redshirted with all the options Michigan has in the front court.
You’d have to assume Glenn would get some minutes, but it’s hard to figure out where with all the guys on this roster that can play as a power forward (Williams II, Tschetter, Reed Jr. in the two-big lineup, and Kante). Additionally, Khayat will probably get more minutes at the 2 and the 3, but needs to improve drastically on both ends of the floor.