The Michigan Wolverines basketball team’s 2022-2023 season officially kicks off on November 7 at Crisler Arena against the Purdue University Fort Wayne Mastodons, followed up by a game in Detroit against Eastern Michigan four days later and a trip to Brooklyn, New York for the Legends Classic on November 16.
Juwan Howard’s team is expected to rely on a blend of veterans and youth this season, led by All-America candidate Hunter Dickinson at the center position and a highly-ranked recruiting class.
On Friday, August 19, the Wolverines played against French professional team Fos Provence, as part of an exhibition slate designed to help the team prepare for what should be an ultra-competitive season in the Big Ten Conference.
The Wolverines lost by a final score of 86-68, during which the fans in attendance were given a sneak peak as to who Michigan’s leading scorers and playmakers might be for the upcoming season.
— FOS PROVENCE BASKET (@FosProvenceBB) August 20, 2022
Some of the highlights include:
- Michigan’s starting lineup. The Wolverines went with a group that included Dickinson (Jr.) at center, Terrance Williams (Jr.) and Jett Howard (Fr.) at the forward positions, and Kobe Bufkin (So.) and Jaelin Llewellyn (Sr.) at the shooting guard and point guard positions, respectively. This is the exact starting lineup we predicted back in June after the departures of Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.
- Dickinson, Llewellyn, and Howard were the team’s leading scorers. Dickinson had 15 points and 10 rebounds on 7/11 shooting from the field. Llewellyn, the Princeton grad transfer, had 15 points and 7 assists on 6/13 shooting, including 3/7 from three-point land. Howard, the younger brother of fellow Wolverine forward Jace Howard, has a high ceiling as a dynamic combo forward who can play inside and on the perimeter. The former MVP of the Iverson Classic All-Star game scored 11 points on 4/10 shooting from the field, including 2/5 on three-pointers. If Michigan is to go far this season, these three could end up becoming their go-to guys, although plenty of talented newcomers are waiting for their moment to shine.
- Two freshmen made plays, but also have a long way to go. Speedy and athletic, yet undersized point guard Dug McDaniel scored six points on 3/6 from the field. He also turned it over five times, however. Tarris Reed, the athletic and imposing power forward and fellow four-star recruit, had five points and six rebounds. These two could be the X-factors for Michigan from a depth standpoint, along with Lebanese big man Youssef Khayat among several others. Juwan Howard’s team is deep, but they have many improvements to make if they are to become a Final Four caliber team this season considering the youth they will rely on.
- Starting shooting guard Kobe Bufkin had zero points in 15 minutes, although he did dish out four assists. His play was up-and-down last season, as he narrowly missed several highlight reel plays over the course of his limited game time. If Michigan is to compete for a Big Ten championship, Bufkin will have to step his game up, or someone else will have to fill in at the shooting guard position. Isaiah Barnes, a shooting guard and forward, scored eight points on two made three-pointers and two free throws for Michigan, suggesting he may have a say in the race for the starting job.
The game’s box score can be read here.
Highlights of the some of the top plays were also posted to the Michigan basketball Twitter account, including Llewellyn’s drive below.
Smooth operator ? pic.twitter.com/lGbvk52f93
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) August 21, 2022
An assist from McDaniel to Dickinson was also shown. McDaniel has the makings of becoming a highlight-reel player on a nightly basis, if he can harness his talent and establish a rapport with the team’s big men this year.
DMV ? Paris pic.twitter.com/YL7JqaVYYS
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) August 20, 2022
Howard and the team also welcomed and embraced Khayat according to an August 18 post, as shown in the video below. Khayat averaged 17.4 points for Limoges U21 last season and brings a dynamic all-around game to the team.
Born in Beirut, Khayat has played for both the Lebanese national team and in French pro leagues.
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) August 18, 2022
More information and photos can be found on the team’s Summer Tour (France and Greece) website here.