Michigan basketball might add another member to its 2021 class if Kobe Bufkin picks the Wolverines over his other suitors. Here’s what the scouts are saying about him.
On Friday, the 78th best basketball player for the 2021 class according to the 247 composite rankings, will announce his college decision and all of the predictions are in the Wolverines favor. Not Michigan State’s, not Ohio State’s, not LSU’s, and not Depaul’s, his other four finalists, Kobe Bufkin is supposed to join the Wolverines.
It makes sense. Bufkin’s family loved watching the Fab Five and are big fans of the Wolverines new coach Juwan Howard, and that fandom was implanted in Kobe.
Kobe, the 15th best shooting guard and No. 3 in-state from Grand Rapids Christian, can play the one, two, or three on Howard’s squad as a tall, 6-foot-4ish scoring guard that has a high basketball IQ, well-timed distribution, and excellent shot-making abilities at all three levels. While he’s not going to stroke them from deep every time, he’s accurate enough to stretch the defense. And while he’s not always the fastest player, he’s innovative, confident, and determined to score each time down the court.
Here’s what the scouts had to say
Kobe did a great job utilizing his length, navigating his way through traffic after receiving the high ballscreen before finishing over bigger defenders at the rim. Defensively he was nothing short of superb, beating offensive players to the spot and then blocking shots where his wingspan was very evident. Bufkin continued to show advanced perimeter footwork for an underclassmen, using jab steps to create space before blowing by his defender on straight line drives that resulted in layups on several occasions. For a prospect that isn’t yet filled out, Kobe’s ability to absorb contact, maintain body control and convert contested layups was impressive. On a few possessions Bufkin took the bump, held his balance in the air and connected on floaters/layups while making it look relatively easy.
Bufkin does make his shots look relatively easy and he sank a lot of them on his way to being named to the Detroit News DII All-State First Team. For Grand Rapids Christian, he averaged 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
“On the court, he is a sponge,” Bufkin’s high school coach, Eric Taylor, said. “He is a kid that really works hard. He works on his game relentlessly and I think that is what has helped him become the player that he is. He’s always in the gym. Off the court, we talk a lot about leadership. You got to be a leader and lead our team. That is on and off the court. He’s growing and at the end of the day, he’s still a young player and he’s got a lot to learn, but he’s willing to do the work and that’s what I love about him. He competes and wants to get better.”
Bufkin was scouted by one of GBMWolverines writers.
“Bufkin is a lanky wing that’s listed by 247 sports as 6-foot-4, however, there are indications he’s now 6-foot-6,” Chris Peterson wrote. “Either way, he’s a combo guard who can handle, get to the bucket and shoot, which are all things Michigan basketball needs in the backcourt for the 2021-22 season.”
Here’s another one from a partner site within FanSided.
“The lefty guard has built quite the arsenal of offensive moves to carry with him to the next level,” Ian Mumm of Busting Brackets stated in his article on Kobe. “Bufkin has a quick first step to attack the rim and an equally abrupt step-back jumper from the perimeter that leaves defenders spinning. He is a physical, yet calculated, offensive player capable of creating his own shot or drawing in the defense to open opportunities for his teammates.
Bufkin is a long playmaking guard who projects to play multiple positions at the next level. At this stage in his development, he’s a combo guard with playmaking ability for himself and others. He has point guard tools but needs to continue to refine his game to grow into a point guard at the Division I level. He’s terrific creating his own jump shot off the dribble and also has a smooth left-handed jumper off the catch. He’s always under control but does a great job of utilizing change of pace and direction to create space to score. He’s a good finisher despite his slender frame and is excellent at absorbing contact around the basket.
A skilled and versatile guard who can play both on or off the ball, Bufkin is a rangy rising senior who still needs to add bulk to his lean frame. But, he can shoot some, he has some burst at the rim and shows wiggle off the dribble.