With Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate gone, what transfers make sense for Michigan?

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Wednesday marked the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA draft and the start of a period of unofficial free agency in college basketball.

Teams know what they need and who is available in the transfer portal now that players on the fence have retired or remained in the draft. Michigan, which lost starters Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate in the draft, is among the teams with the most to replace. Even though the options have narrowed a bit since the initial rush, the draft deadline has also brought some new players into play.

Losing Houstan and Diabate didn’t come as a big surprise for Michigan, but coupled with the transfer of Frankie Collins to Arizona State, it left the Wolverines in need of reinforcements. Here’s how the roster is shaping up right now.

Great

Hunter Dickinson, 7-foot-1, junior

Tarris Reed, 6-10, first grade

Attackers

Terrance Williams, 6-7, junior

Isaiah Barnes, 6-7, freshman in red shirt

Will Tschetter, 6-8, freshman in red shirt

Gregg Glenn, 6-7, freshman

Jett Howard, 6-7, freshman

Guards

Jaelin Llewellyn, 6-2, graduate transfer

Jace Howard, 6-7, junior

Kobe Bufkin, 6-4, sophomore

Dug McDaniel, 5-11, Freshman

That leaves Wolverines with two purses to use on transfers. It’s uncertain whether they’ll use both, but adding at least one player seems like a high probability. Here’s a look at some available transfers and how they might fit into Michigan’s roster.

Pete Nance, forward 6-10, North West

Michigan knows what Nance can do after facing him the past four years in the Big Ten. He doesn’t have Diabate’s athleticism, but he’s a well-rounded big man who can score in a variety of ways. Dribbling transfers, pick and rolls, pick and pops – Nance is comfortable with it all. He’s not a high-volume 3-point shooter, but he shot 45.3 percent from 3-point range and would allow the Wolverines to stretch the floor a bit more than they could with Diabate.

Nance chose to focus on the project rather than talking to schools during the pre-project process. Now that he’s available, he’s likely to hear from a bunch of teams hoping to land a talented big man late in the process. Michigan has its low-post scorer in Dickinson, but the Wolverines played a big two big last season, and Nance could be a good complement to Dickinson as a forward who can stretch the ground.

Joey Baker, forward 6-6, Duke

Baker came to Duke as a top-50 rookie, burned a redshirt at the end of his freshman season, and then never became more than a role player. He originally planned to use the COVID-19 exemption to play a fifth season at Duke, but instead entered the transfer portal in mid-May.

Baker may not be a star — he averaged 4.1 points per game during his career at Duke — but he’s shooting 38% from 3-point range for his career, and that’s something Michigan needs. Having a player who could reliably knock down two or three 3-pointers per game would have helped last year’s team tremendously. Although Houstan was a 3-point shooter, he led the team in attempts and had some stretches as Michigan’s best perimeter option. Michigan needs to replace that somehow, and Baker’s shot makes him someone worth considering.

Jacob Grandison, forward 6-6, Illinois

Grandison wasn’t in the transfer gate until recent days when he withdrew from the draft and made the decision to transfer from Illinois. Here is what Athleticism‘s Sam Vecenie and CJ Moore wrote of Grandison, whom they ranked No. 10 among available players: “He was perfect as a shooter for the Illini, spacing the floor around Kofi Cockburn. He would be perfect for another team with a similar setup, either a big dominant or dynamic penetrating guards who can draw help. Considering how difficult it can be to find shots, especially on the wing, as well as the fact that Grandison is 24 and has already won, he should be able to find a good home even this late in the game. the game.

Does that sound like a player Michigan could use? Grandison, who started his career at Holy Cross, shot 45 percent on 3-pointers last season and is a career-high 37 percent 3-point shooter. He would likely be competing for a starting job in Michigan, which wasn’t necessarily going to be the case in Illinois. And it would add even more fuel to the Michigan-Illinois series, which has become one of the hottest in the Big Ten.

Emoni Bates, forward 6-9, Memphis

Now we come to the elephant in the room. Should Michigan take a chance on Bates, the Ypsilanti prep phenom who transfers after a turbulent first year at Memphis? Bates is a massive talent, though he may not be the superstar many saw when he was in high school. After what happened last year in Memphis and the larger saga surrounding Bates, any team would be justified in wondering if his talent is worth the potential disruption. Then again, perhaps his time in Memphis left him humbled and determined to make the most of his next opportunity. If so, this could be a chance to buy low on one of the most talented players available.

If Michigan is looking for maturity and experience, that doesn’t point to Bates. It’s also worth noting that most Michigan transfers are graduate transfers who don’t have to worry about transferring a bunch of credits. That doesn’t mean an undergraduate transfer couldn’t land in Michigan, but it’s harder.

Michigan doesn’t need to sign a star. The Wolverines have a potential All-American in Dickinson, a plug-and-play point guard in Llewellyn and talented young wingers who should be ready to contribute. If they can round out their roster with another shooter and a little more size, they should have what they need to fight in the Big Ten.

(Photo by Emoni Bates: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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