Michigan Basketball: Caris Levert Returning Makes Michigan a Contender


Nov 24, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Caris LeVert (23) drives past Oregon Ducks guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit (15) during the second half at Barclays Center. Michigan Wolverines won 70-63. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Caris Levert officially announced today that he would be returning to Michigan for his senior season. The junior guard had been contemplating leaving for the NBA and would have been a potential first round pick had he declared. Levert tweeted out that he had unfinished business at Michigan.

A foot injury to Levert this past season caused him to miss the second half of the year. That injury ended Michigan’s NCAA Tournament aspirations, and also took Levert from a potential mid first round pick to a fringe first rounder. His return makes Michigan basketball a contender to win the Big Ten next year and also make a deep NCAA tournament run. Levert and Spike Albrecht were co-captains this past season as juniors and will likely have the same roles for their senior season. They will be joined by juniors Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton, and a group of sophomores who gained a lot of experience as freshmen due to injuries.

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Levert will likely be joined in the starting lineup by Walton, Irvin, Aubrey Dawkins, and Ricky Doyle. That is a starting five with a lot of fire power and athletic ability. They should be able to excel on both ends of the floor and really shoot the lights out. Both Levert and Dawkins shot over 40% from beyond the arc last season. Dawkins in particular could really have a breakout season. Over his last 10 games he averaged 12.6 points per game and shot 47% from the field, 46% from three, and 94% from the free throw line.

The bench also has a chance to be great for Michigan next year. Spike Albrecht will lead the way as long as he recovers well from off season hip surgery, and there will be a host of others competing for playing time. Kameron Chatman has a chance for a big bounce back season after having a mostly disappointing freshman campaign. He started to show improvement later in the season and will look to build on that next year. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman should also be much improved after a solid freshman season. Guys like DJ Wilson, Mark Donnal, Duncan Robinson, and Moriz Wagner will all be competing for playing time as well.

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After a disappointing season in 2014-15, Michigan has an experienced roster ready to compete next year. John Beilein’s squad has a ton of talent and Max Bielfeldt is the lone player from last season’s roster that won’t be returning. Michigan fans will be rewarded for their patience after the team had to overcome talent leaving early for the draft over the past couple seasons. It’s a great time to be a fan of Michigan basketball and U of M athletics in general.