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Kobe Bufkin leaving Michigan, entering NBA Draft

The Wolverines will miss him dearly.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kobe Bufkin, who made an incredible sophomore leap and was one of Michigan’s best players this past season, is leaving Ann Arbor to enter the NBA Draft.

If the Big Ten gave out a Most Improved Player award, Bufkin would be a shoe-in to win it. He went from being a freshman who barely saw the floor to being one of Michigan’s most impactful players, averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 48.2% from the field, 35.5% from three and 84.9% from the free throw line. He was an All-Big Ten third team member by the coaches and was an honorable mention by the media.

It’s no secret the Wolverines struggled to close games this past season, but Bufkin was a big reason they were in a lot of these games to begin with. When Michigan’s offense was stagnant and needed a bucket, Bufkin delivered. He hit so many clutch shots down the stretch close games and continued to improve as the season went along.

Bufkin’s draft stock steadily rose all season long, skyrocketing in conference play. There was an eight-game stretch in February where the Wolverines went 6-2 and Bufkin had 13 points or more in every game, including a career-high 28 points in the OT win over Wisconsin.

It makes sense why NBA teams are intrigued by Bufkin; he was the youngest player on Michigan’s roster, he’s a savvy driver, can finish at the rim and has a super high basketball IQ. His three-point shot was also pretty reliable, and he was easily Michigan’s best on-ball defender.

Bufkin is the fourth player from the 2022-23 group to depart from Michigan. Jett Howard also entered the draft, reserve guard Isaiah Barnes entered the transfer portal and Hunter Dickinson also hopped in the portal.

Losing Bufkin hurts this program drastically. The team was light on guards already and now the depth in the backcourt is as shallow as a kiddie pool. Incoming freshman George Washington III can play shooting guard, but Michigan needs to look to the transfer portal to find a talented guard or two to fill out the roster. The Wolverines already landed Nimari Burnett from Alabama, but they’ll probably need another one before next season.

We here at Maize n Brew will really miss watching Bufkin at Michigan, and we hope he thrives in the NBA.