Five Potential Transfer Targets For Michigan Basketball
Michigan basketball is going to have to hit the transfer portal hard after Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan opted to stay in the NBA draft. Now, Michigan will have two open scholarships and some holes on the roster to fill.
It has been a chaotic offseason, to say the least. Frankie Collins and Brandon Johns have both transferred this offseason. Collins looked poised to become the starting point guard after DeVante Jones graduated. Michigan will miss him dearly. Thankfully for Michigan, they landed Princeton transfer Jaelin Llewellyn. He will take the reins at the point for Michigan. The loss of Johns is not crucial but will hurt. He is not tremendous, but he did play valuable minutes off the bench. Most damaging is the loss of Diabate and Houstan. As a result, Michigan will start Jett Howard and Terrance Williams. These two should be able to hang in the starting lineup but Michigan will struggle off the bench. This is where the transfer portal comes into play. With two scholarships, Michigan has some different options that can help fill out the roster.
1. Emoni Bates SF Memphis
The biggest transfer that Michigan basketball could pursue is Emoni Bates. Bates has been linked to Michigan throughout his time in the spotlight. This is natural as he was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan and the Wolverines were major players in his recruitment out of high school. When Bates entered the transfer portal, Michigan was immediately a rumored destination. He even included them in his top six without Michigan displaying interest in bringing him in. It seems like Bates will be heading to Louisville but Michigan may try to swoop in at the last second.
Bates did not have the best season at Memphis. He only played in 18 games while averaging 23 minutes per game. In this time, he averaged 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. That’s not great for a five-star. However, Michigan may be willing to take a chance on Bates. When entered college he was only 17 and he got hurt. If he is a year older and healthy, Bates could be lightyears better next season. Plus, Juwan Howard has been successful in developing players like Diabate, Williams, and Johns.
The loss of Diabate and Houstan leaves a void that Bates could fill. Realistically, Bates can play the three or the four. This would give Michigan versatility with their lineups which would help relieve their depth issue as Howard or Williams could come off the bench. With two open scholarships, Michigan can afford to take a risk on a player like Bates.
2. Emmanuel Akot SF Boise State
Akot had a successful senior season at Boise State. He averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. Akot’s offensive production is led by his three-point shooting. On 4.6 attempts per game, he shot 38% from behind the arc. On the defensive side of the court, he excels. At 6′ 8′, Akot can guard multiple positions efficiently.
Akot would be a tremendous fit on Michigan’s roster. His ability to defend multiple positions would assist in Coach Howard’s desire to play positionless basketball in Ann Arbor. He would likely play the three in Ann Arbor. If Michigan decides to go small he could also play the four. Similar to Bates, his addition to the starting lineup would bolster Michigan’s depth. Most importantly, Michigan desperately needs additional shooters. Akot could fill the void left by Houstan from the perimeter and help Michigan in catch-and-shoot scenarios.
Historically, Michigan struggles to get transfers because of their strict admissions policies. However, the process is far easier for graduate transfers. Akot is a graduate transfer. This greatly increases the chances that he goes to Michigan. For Michigan, taking Akot as a graduate transfer would be beneficial because his scholarship would only be on the books for one season.
3. Pete Nance PF Northwestern
Pete Nance went through the NBA draft process but opted to return to college and seek a transfer. Last season, Nance was the leader for Northwestern. He played about 27.2 minutes per game while averaging 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks. Despite playing center at Northwestern, he has the skills to play power forward. Nance has already proven to be a starting-caliber player in the Big Ten which would certainly catch Michigan’s eye.
With Hunter Dickerson at center, Nance would mostly play power forward for Michigan. This would be a great combo as most teams would struggle to guard both guys in the post. At the same time, Nance’s shooting ability would allow the Wolverines to space the floor. Last season, Nance shot 45% on 3.1 shots per game from the three. Nance is not a great shot-creator on the perimeter but will knock down threes off the catch. Nance’s addition would give Michigan an established starter at the four and would help them increase their productivity from behind the arc.
While Nance’s recruitment has just begun there seem to be several teams interested in his services. Michigan’s most notable competitor seems to be North Carolina. Landing Nance will not be easy but Michigan will be pursuing the graduate transfer.
4. Joey Baker SF Duke
The most likely transfer that Michigan basketball could land is Joey Baker. Baker is a wing shooter that played about 12 minutes per game off the bench at Duke. In this time, Baker shot more from the three than on the inside. That’s understandable as he is a great shooter. Last season, Baker shot 40% from the three on 2.2 attempts per game. In total, Baker only averaged 4.5 points per game while adding minimal rebounds and assists. Baker really does not add much value outside of his three-point shooting ability. Albeit, that is the reason he could end up a Wolverine.
Baker may be the most likely player to transfer to Michigan. He has already visited Ann Arbor. His three-point shooting would help Michigan space the floor. His role at Michigan would be similar to the role he had at Duke. Baker would get about 10 minutes off the bench and would only be asked to hit open threes. This would look similar to Duncan Robinson’s role at Michigan a couple of seasons ago. Baker is also a graduate transfer which is likely what the Wolverines are looking for.
5. Jacob Grandison SG Illinois
Jacob Grandison is yet another shooter that Michigan should be interested in. Grandison even listed Michigan as a potential landing spot. Last season, Grandison started 23 games at Illinois while coming off the bench seven times. In this role, he averaged 9.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. This was done while shooting 41% from three.
At Michigan, Grandison could start at shooting guard or be the six-man. That would depend on how Kobe Bufkin plays in his first year as a starter. Either way, Grandison would play a lot of valuable minutes. If you have not caught the theme yet, Grandison fills Michigan’s two biggest needs; depth and shooting. Grandison can provide those two things. It is as simple as that.
Once again, this one will not be easy. There are a host of teams interested in Grandison. He has already visited Duke and Arizona has shown interest. If Michigan wants Grandison they will have to compete for his services with other blue blood programs.