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Daily Brews: Olivier Nkamhoua discusses first days in Ann Arbor

The grad transfer from Tennessee sees a ‘lethal’ duo forming between himself and Dug McDaniel.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - East Regional Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

It’s safe to say this offseason’s transfer recruitment didn’t go exactly how Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball staff had envisioned. Despite all the bumps and twists, however, they got at least one solid pickup that’s sure to contribute in 2023-24 — former Tennessee forward Olivier Nkamhoua.

With summer camp cranking into gear, Nkamhoua sat down with Brian Boesch on MGoBlue’s Defend the Block podcast. Nkamhoua’s first days in Ann Arbor have been good ones, as he had nothing but praise in his initial assessment of his new home.

“It’s been great,” Nkamhoua said. “Got here last Monday and it’s been fun to meet people, got to see camp for a couple of days. Just being around campus, take a couple of walks, be around the guys. Today was our first official practice. It’s been good, it’s been great. Everybody has been treating me well, it’s been a great atmosphere. I feel very welcome and I’m enjoying myself.”

Initially, it didn’t appear Nkamhoua would be donning the maize and blue at all, as his announced final two were comprised of Baylor and West Virginia. Rumors have abounded as to why neither of those schools ended up getting his signature, but Nkamhoua himself pointed to a like-minded strategy with Howard and the coaching staff.

“After speaking with the staff and everybody, I think this was my best move because the acclimation, adaptation wasn’t going to be anything outside of myself,” Nkamhoua said. “I’m still going to be doing things that I’m already good at. And then obviously improving on things that I need to improve on.”

When Boesch pressed on how he sees himself slotting into the lineup, Nkamhoua made particular note of a potential one-two punch with point guard Dug McDaniel.

“Watching this team and watching the pieces, I think me and Dug are going to be lethal in the ball screen because we can create in any situation,” Nkamhoua said. “If he wants to get to the cup, I can stay back. If we’re both getting to the cup, we have the pick-and-roll on the lob, on the low passes. We have that short roll game, we can even run slips and get him downhill really easy.

“So I feel like everybody on this team right now is fitting really well together. And as we get to know each other and be around each other more, I think we can all help each other grow and get better. And that’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m trying to have the best year of my life and I’m trying to see everybody on this team have that same type of year.”

It’s clear just how important this upcoming season is to getting back on the right track after last year’s NIT finish, and Nkamhoua seems confident they can surprise a lot of people this fall.