Michigan Basketball: Predicting who returns and starts next season

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The hottest topic of conversation surrounding Michigan basketball since the end of the season is who will return for the Wolverines?

It’s a loaded question because lots of players have decisions to make. And as we have seen across the country with other college basketball programs, the transfer portal is having an impact.

Tons of players and that’s not an exaggeration, are putting their name into the portal and it wouldn’t be shocking if that happened with Michigan basketball too.

The bigger issue is seniors leaving and also guys heading to the NBA. There is one big difference between this year and others. Players were granted an extra year of eligibility so any senior that wants to come back for the 2021-22 season could do so.

There have already been rumors that Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown are thinking about coming back and people are acting as though it’s a done deal. But Chris Balas of Rivals (subscription required) is reporting both are likely to return.

Likely doesn’t mean it has happened though. Both players might not be good enough to play in the NBA, but there is always the G-League and Europe, which they are good enough to do.

We’ll see what happens, but obviously, getting one or both back would be enormous. It doesn’t seem likely that Franz Wagner will return. He seems headed to the draft but on the same note, I don’t see Hunter Dickinson leaving for the NBA draft.

So who will return and what will the lineup look like? Here are predictions for the starting five, which will obviously include picks to return.

Point Guard: Eli Brooks

It does seem like Eli Brooks will return next season and it makes a ton of sense. He played exceptional in his two seasons under Juwan Howard, so why not a third?

Besides, why not get a chance to experience a packed Criser Center again or make another run at a national championship? Brooks was the glue guy last year and while he’s not the ideal point guard, he will see minutes there and probably start if he returns.

Zeb Jackson could be another option and so could Frankie Collins, who will be a true freshman next year. Obviously, Michigan basketball needs to develop its next starter, so even if Brooks is starting at the point, he will rotate to the two and allow other guys a chance to run the show.

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