The Wolverine

May 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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38 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2022 S enior point guard DeVante' Jones made his standing for the 2022-23 season official shortly after his team bowed out of the NCAA Tournament, declaring for the NBA Draft process after one season in Ann Arbor. He posted his farewell to the program and fans on social media on March 26. "Michigan … "Thank you. This wasn't the easiest year for me but with the support of the fans, my teammates, the coaching staff and the hardworking managers, it made my experience here worthwhile. This is a year I will never forget because it taught me that when you get hit, you can't just sit there and complain because nobody will feel sorry for you. I went through so many obstacles and challenges with my brothers. It made us strong, and we proved the world wrong all year long. I'm grateful for every single last one of you boys. Most importantly, I'm thankful for God for putting me in such a great posi- tion to better my basketball career. "With that being said, I will be de- claring for the 2022 NBA Draft. #12Out #BetOnYourself." Jones averaged 10.3 points, 4.6 as- sists and 4.5 rebounds per game this season as a transfer from Coastal Car- olina. He struggled to find his footing early in the season while adjusting to the jump from the Sun Belt to the Big Ten. Jones emerged down the stretch as one of Michigan's better players. His NCAA Tournament appearance with Michigan was his first as a college player. Jones went through the NBA Draft process last year, working out with the Sacramento Kings and NBA G League camp. – Anthony Broome WAY TOO EARLY TOP-25 LISTS WEIGH IN ON 2022-23 National scribes and pundits rushed to put together their "Way Too Early Top 25" lists when the clock struck midnight on the 2021-22 season. The Kansas Jay- hawks were still celebrating on the floor when media members sent out their list of contenders for 2022-23. Michigan is expected to be in the na- tional picture again next season with The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy labeling it the No. 4 team in the land. "The nice NCAA Tournament run made this past season feel better than it was, but the intermittent struggles can't diminish how capable this team's young players are," he said. "Forward Moussa Diabate and wing Caleb Houstan are just talented enough as freshmen that NBA teams might be interested, but just far enough from being ready to be drafted or fully valued that they could benefit enor- mously by playing another year. "The injury to DeVante' Jones at the end of the season revealed how capable Frankie Collins is, which could give the Wolverines two talented point guards. "The Wolverines could afford to lose one of the two frosh, but probably need to hang on to former All-American big man Hunter Dickinson. He could have a Kofi Cockburn-style year in 2022-23 if he takes another lap." ESPN's Jeff Borzello ranked the Wol- verines 11th, but his prediction comes with plenty of projection. "Hunter Dickinson nearly left Ann Arbor for the NBA Draft last summer, and he could certainly take the next step this year, but latest projections have him going undrafted — so there's a chance Juwan Howard gets him for another campaign," Borzello wrote. "If he does return, Michigan will again have one of the biggest frontcourts in the country, with Howard hoping Caleb Houstan can become more consistent on the wing. It will be interesting to see how the Wol- verines replace DeVante' Jones and Eli Brooks; Frankie Collins showed flashes down the stretch, while Dug McDaniel is a tough, quick freshman entering the fold. Kobe Bufkin, a former McDonald's All-American, will also return on the pe- rimeter." Gary Parrish of CBS is mostly in line with Borzello's prediction, rank- ing Michigan 12th ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. His thoughts come with the presumption that all three of the poten- tial pros return. "The Wolverines' ranking is based on a returning core of Hunter Dickinson, Ca- leb Houstan and Moussa Diabate, each of whom is a nice college player but nothing resembling a sure-fire first-round pick," he said. "For that reason, I'll assume for now that they're all back at Michigan, which could then be the favorite in the Big Ten." — Anthony Broome MICHIGAN BASKETBALL DeVante' Jones Declares For 2022 NBA Draft Jones, who averaged 10.3 points, 4.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game this season as a transfer from Coastal Carolina, declared for the NBA Draft process on March 26. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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