The Fab Five Strikes Back: Michigan BBall 2021-22

Zososoxfan

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The smoke has cleared with Eli Brooks slated to return, as Mike Smith and Chaundee declare for the draft. Livers and Wagner haven't declared yet, but almost certainly will. Austin Davis may still return (I think?), but that's a minor piece in the larger scheme of things.

While I would've loved for Smith or Chaundee to come back, Eli was the most important. His ability to play the point or SG along with elite D should allow for the Freshmen/Zeb to integrate at an ideal pace. It feels like Dickinson, Johns, and Houstan are locked in at the 5, 4, and 3 respectively, so it's just a matter of sorting out the back court. While Eli isn't an elite ballhandler and is better at the 2, Juwan can run much of the offense through Dickinson and Johns that a true point is less important. That being said, the best lineup next year probably features Brooks at the 2. Assuming Houstan slots in easily as a starter, the development of Zeb, Bufkin, and Collins are likely the biggest X factors for this team's ceiling.

With Diabate, Williams, and Barnes eating up the rest of the minutes, this team should be deep by the end of the season. They might get off to a slow start because of how young some of the guys are, but Brooks, Dickinson, and Johns should keep this from being a huge issue. And while Diabate and Williams should be elite defenders, Barnes is the only one of the 3 that could be a great scorer. Bufkin also figures into the bench scoring equation as well.

I also wouldn't be surprised if Juwan looks for a transfer PG (a la Mike Smith) and/or some additional frontcourt depth (if Davis doesn't return).

All in all, lots of fun pieces and Juwan should have this team competing for another conference title.
 

Average Reds

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The smoke has cleared with Eli Brooks slated to return, as Mike Smith and Chaundee declare for the draft. Livers and Wagner haven't declared yet, but almost certainly will. Austin Davis may still return (I think?), but that's a minor piece in the larger scheme of things.

While I would've loved for Smith or Chaundee to come back, Eli was the most important. His ability to play the point or SG along with elite D should allow for the Freshmen/Zeb to integrate at an ideal pace. It feels like Dickinson, Johns, and Houstan are locked in at the 5, 4, and 3 respectively, so it's just a matter of sorting out the back court. While Eli isn't an elite ballhandler and is better at the 2, Juwan can run much of the offense through Dickinson and Johns that a true point is less important. That being said, the best lineup next year probably features Brooks at the 2. Assuming Houstan slots in easily as a starter, the development of Zeb, Bufkin, and Collins are likely the biggest X factors for this team's ceiling.

With Diabate, Williams, and Barnes eating up the rest of the minutes, this team should be deep by the end of the season. They might get off to a slow start because of how young some of the guys are, but Brooks, Dickinson, and Johns should keep this from being a huge issue. And while Diabate and Williams should be elite defenders, Barnes is the only one of the 3 that could be a great scorer. Bufkin also figures into the bench scoring equation as well.

I also wouldn't be surprised if Juwan looks for a transfer PG (a la Mike Smith) and/or some additional frontcourt depth (if Davis doesn't return).

All in all, lots of fun pieces and Juwan should have this team competing for another conference title.
I was immensely pleased to see your post about Brooks, but I can't find confirmation anywhere. Do you have a source? (Forgive me. I'm paranoid.)

And yes, my working assumption is that Livers and Wagner are gone and that Dickinson will test the waters but ultimately return. With the #1 recruiting class coming in, having two returning starters (edit: plus Johns) anchoring the lineup would be huge.
 

Zososoxfan

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I was immensely pleased to see your post about Brooks, but I can't find confirmation anywhere. Do you have a source? (Forgive me. I'm paranoid.)

And yes, my working assumption is that Livers and Wagner are gone and that Dickinson will test the waters but ultimately return. With the #1 recruiting class coming in, having two returning starters (edit: plus Johns) anchoring the lineup would be huge.
View: https://twitter.com/LAbound2/status/1380947989955502081?s=20


Text: Running it back [image of Eli and Juwan]
 

Average Reds

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I’m not sure who that Twitter profile belongs to. I just know that it hasn’t been reported anywhere.

Will be extremely happy if true.
 

Granite Sox

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This year was a great surprise, and very exciting. I think next year should also be exciting, if not as much of a surprise given the profile of returnees and the incoming freshmen.

I'm not here to sh*t on Wagner, but I just don't see the upside that suggests a projected NBA 1st round selection. Can't shoot well, shaky handle, and doesn't have an NBA frame. *shrug*

I think a seasoned PG from the transfer portal is in order here to guide/push Collins and support Eli. I sure hope Brooks is coming back... that would be great news.

I also hope Johns sustains his arc of improvement. He seemed to come into his own late in the season and in the tournament.

The talent and skillsets of the freshmen are really intriguing. I anticipate early rotation time for Houstan, Diabate, and Collins. It will take a little longer for Barnes and Bufkin, I think. Tschetter is an org guy...
 
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Zososoxfan

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Austin Davis announced he's not returning, so with the caveat that Eli is not official, the returners are locked in. I expect Juwan to get at least one transfer and maybe 2. They'd be a PG and some frontcourt depth.

This year was a great surprise, and very exciting. I think next year should also be exciting, if not as much of a surprise given the profile of returnees and the incoming freshmen.

I'm not hear to sh*t on Wagner, but I just don't see the upside that suggests a projected NBA 1st round selection. Can't shoot well, shaky handle, and doesn't have an NBA frame. *shrug*

I think a seasoned PG from the transfer portal is in order here to guide/push Collins and support Eli. I sure hope Brooks is coming back... that would be great news.

I also hope Johns sustains his arc of improvement. He seemed to come into his own late in the season and in the tournament.

The talent and skillsets of the freshmen are really intriguing. I anticipate early rotation time for Houstan, Diabate, and Collins. It will take a little longer for Barnes and Bufkin, I think. Tschetter is an org guy...
I think Franz is a first rounder, but not a lotto pick (like MGoBlog seems to think). Regarding the bolded, why do you say Franz doesn't have a NBA frame? 6-9, 220 lbs. for a 3/4 wing seems ideal. Average NBA height across all positions is approx. 6-6. Hoops Geek lists PF average measurables at 6-8, 230, and SF at 6-6, 213.

Franz is a player who will have to find a role in the NBA as a defender, passer, and providing some interior and midrange game. I also think he's pretty skilled and agile for that size, so if he can be a threat from the outside or even the midrange, he should be able to put the ball on the floor and get to the lane against smaller 3s and less agile 4s.

My understanding is that FT% is considered a good indicator of expected 3PT% and likely midrange efficiency, and Franz is a career 83.5% FT shooter--I'm not well-versed enough though to say what that should translate to. FWIW, his percentages this season were 47.7% on 2s and 34.3% on 3s.
 

Granite Sox

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Re my frame comment... he strikes me as a guy who will get pushed around easily in the NBA. So whether it's a combination of added weight or a change in conditioning, I see him as someone who needs to get a little bit "functionally stronger". I can't argue with any of your other points. I'm just uncertain if he's quick enough to guard the 3 or strong enough to guard the 4. Ultimately, I'm rooting for success, but I think it's a higher probability that he washes out of the NBA sooner by leaving early. Not exactly an analysis supported by stats.;)
 

Zososoxfan

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Re my frame comment... he strikes me as a guy who will get pushed around easily in the NBA. So whether it's a combination of added weight or a change in conditioning, I see him as someone who needs to get a little bit "functionally stronger". I can't argue with any of your other points. I'm just uncertain if he's quick enough to guard the 3 or strong enough to guard the 4. Ultimately, I'm rooting for success, but I think it's a higher probability that he washes out of the NBA sooner by leaving early. Not exactly an analysis supported by stats.;)
That makes sense. I generally agree that either he will be an asset that can guard the 3 or the 4 or he's a liability by being a tweener that can't guard either.
 

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Wagner officially declares for NBA
I don't blame him a bit. I'm also much more bullish on his upside than others here, in the sense that he has an unbelievable feel for the game and does things on defense that we will miss greatly in Ann Arbor.

His one weakness is the lack of a consistent outside shot. I do agree that if he can't develop that, he's never going to reach his potential in the NBA, which has become a shooter's league.
 

Zososoxfan

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Michigan also did end up going into the PORTAL and nabbing a PG--DeVante Jones out of Coastal Carolina. Reigning Sun Belt Conf. player of the year--played the 1 and the 2 at Carolina. 6'1'', 200 lbs. He's pretty much the ideal backcourt transfer and should let ZEB!, Collins, and other guards come along at an appropriate pace.

I think the roster's set. There's a small chance Juwan could go back into the PORTAL for another big, but that would block Terrance Williams and you don't want to recruit over your guys like that. In any event, Williams is likely splitting minutes backing up the 4 with Diabate, so it's not a huge role anyway. In a pinch, I could see Juwan trying to steal some minutes with Houstan at the 4.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Is the deadline to declare May 30? Any further word on Dickinson? Howard would certainly take on a transfer big if Dickinson declared.

As for Wagner, his BB IQ seems pretty high, and he has a really well-rounded skill set to build on. What does he do poorly? He has good length for a wing and quick hands; CBS would give him run as a rookie for his defense alone. But yeah, he needs to add functional strength and develop more consistency on his 3s.
 

Zososoxfan

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Dug McDaniel committed to Michigan over the weekend which kinda surprised me as Juwan has also been after PGs Jaden Bradley and Seth Trimble recently. The thinking may be that Dug will be on campus for more than a year whereas the other guys have significant one-and-done potential. Or, maybe Juwan thought he may just lose out on the other guys and wanted Dug in the fold. Dug is a mighty mite PG who's super fun to watch but also approximately my height (i.e. significantly under 6 feet). Not exactly conducive to being good at bball in my anecdotal experience.