The Wolverine

June-July 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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40 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2021 M ichigan head coach Juwan Howard and his basketball program received huge news April 14, when senior guard Eli Brooks an- nounced he would take advantage of the NCAA's free year and return for a fifth season in 2021-22. The Spring Grove, Pa., native aver- aged 9.5 points, 3.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this past year, while shooting 42.6 percent from the floor and 39.6 percent from three- point range. His 3.1 dimes per outing were the second most on the team, behind only fifth-year senior guard Mike Smith's 5.3. Brooks had his best statistical game of the year in Michigan's sec- ond-round NCAA Tournament vic- tory over LSU, when he poured in a season-high 21 points, tallied four rebounds and seven assists, and con- nected on 5 of 9 three-pointers. U-M assistant coach Phil Mar- telli even referred to Brooks as "the team's MVP" March 9. His return will provide a much- needed veteran presence to a Wolver- ine backcourt that is losing key com- ponents in Smith and senior guard Chaundee Brown. Brooks will help serve as a mentor to second-year freshman guard Zeb Jackson, as well as a trio of incoming four-star freshman guards in Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian's Kobe Bufkin, Henderson (Nev.) Corona- do's Frankie Collins and Chicago Simeon's Isaiah Barnes. — Austin Fox FRANZ WAGNER MAKES 'TOUGH' DECISION TO LEAVE MICHIGAN EARLY Michigan basketball sophomore guard Franz Wagner will forgo his fi- nal three years of eligibility and enter the 2021 NBA Draft as an early en- trant, he and the program announced May 4. "It's time for me to say goodbye to Ann Arbor, and to take on this whole new challenge in the NBA," Wagner penned in a letter published on The Player 's Tribune addressed to the 'Michigan family.' The Berlin, Germany, native in- tends to hire an agent. Mock drafts have him as a first-round selection, with CBS Sports' latest mock project- ing him at No. 15 overall and ESPN listing him at No. 9. Wagner spent two seasons with the Maize and Blue, and was a huge part of Juwan Howard's success as a new head coach. After missing the first four games of his career, he started 55 straight contests and averaged 12.0 points and 6.1 rebounds an outing. In his first year on campus, Wag- ner became the 10th Wolverine to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Fresh- man team and was awarded Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors three times. He averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest, and he MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Eli Brooks Will Return To Ann Arbor For The 2021-22 Season Brooks averaged 9.5 points, 3.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this past year, while shooting 42.6 percent from the floor and 39.6 percent from three-point range. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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