Michigan Basketball: Wolverines need to get Austin Davis for a 5th year

After the way he has performed recently, it’s clear that Michigan basketball needs Austin Davis back for the fifth season.

In some cases, it feels great to be wrong and that’s exactly how I feel about Austin Davis, the Michigan basketball player that has proven just about everyone wrong lately.

Davis was once an afterthought and a guy that seem destined to transfer elsewhere for his fifth season of eligibility next year. Then suddenly, Davis started playing so well that people started asking if he’ll stay? Now, many Michigan basketball fans are asking why he doesn’t play more?

And with his incredible production lately, it’s a legitimate question.

For the season, Davis is averaging just more than 10 minutes a game and he’s scoring five. He’s also grabbing more than two rebounds per game and shooting 71 percent from the field.

It’s hard to know if he could ever keep that production up with more minutes, but at some point, it’d be fun to see what he could do. Obviously, he needs work defensively and doesn’t have much of a perimeter game, but you can’t argue with what he’s done, at least not lately.

In the last five games, Davis has been particularly effective, especially shooting the ball. He has scored 41 points, which is more than eight points per game and he’s made 18-of-21 shots from the field. I know that’s a limited sample size, but that’s unheard of. He’s also averaging more than three rebounds in that span too.

The production is simply off the charts and you can see the lift he has given the Wolverines off the bench. Now, with Davis, Brandon Johns and David DeJulius, the bench weak from a relative weakness to one of Michigan basketball’s biggest strengths.

It’s been directly related to this run and part of that is the return of Isaiah Livers, which allowed Johns to return to the bench. But it had nothing to do with this surge from Davis, who now is a legit candidate to stick on the roster next season.

The problem is that the Wolverines are going to have a tough time getting everyone back with all the commits in 2020. If Joshua Christopher goes to Michigan, which all of his crystal balls are now saying he will do, that would put U-M two over the limit.

One thought was always that Davis, who would be a fifth-year senior next year, would be a graduate transfer somewhere else. It made sense, especially when he wasn’t playing much. Michigan could open a spot and he could actually get some run.

Now, that still could be an option for Davis. If he wants to be a starter for someone, which I’d say is possible now after seeing what he can do, he will need to leave. But if he wants to say at Michigan and play a key role off the bench, well, that would be a perfect fit too.

Jon Teske will be gone and no matter how talented Hunter Dickinson is, Michigan could use another big body inside and one that can score down low.

It certainly seems like Adrien Nunez could hopefully see the writing on the wall. Or maybe Jace Howard would accept being a walk-on for a year since his dad is the head coach. Isaiah Livers could leave for the NBA, which would also open a spot and it’s still possible Isaiah Todd plays professionally overseas and not at U-M.

All I know is that with the recruiting class Howard brings in, plus some of the guys left over, Davis included, this Michigan basketball team could make a serious run next season.

Next: Predictions for next season's starting lineup

And with his unselfish attitude, Davis probably wouldn’t need to play more than 10-12 minutes a game, yet if he could be as effective as he’s been lately, Michigan basketball shouldn’t give that up.

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