Dusty May’s transfer portal efforts with Michigan basketball getting national recognition

The Wolverines Have Added Dynamic Players in The Portal, Thrusting The Wolverines Into Big Ten Contention Again
Michigan Basketball Introduces Dusty May
Michigan Basketball Introduces Dusty May / Luke Hales/GettyImages

When Juwan Howard left the Michigan basketball program earlier this year, the program’s roster was a veritable ghost town. The 2023-2024 season was one of the most abysmal showings in program history, and even the few players who demonstrated any ability to play well chose to enter the portal and transfer elsewhere. Dug McDaniel, Terrance Williams, and Tarris Reed were gone and there were questions about whether the likes of Nimari Burnett and Will Tschetter would be close behind. To say the future of the Michigan basketball team looked bleak would have been an understatement.

But to the administration’s well-deserved credit, they avoided a protracted coaching search and pulled the trigger on hiring Florida Atlantic’s Dusty May. The acclaimed coach wasted no time hitting the recruiting trail and the transfer portal with a ferocity that fans of Michigan basketball know well.

Now, the empty cupboard is filled to the brim with the likes of Wolverines from last season including Burnett and Tschetter as well as marquis transfers Tre Donaldson, Roddy Gayle, Rubin Jones, Sam Walters, Vlad Goldin, and Danny Wolf. Not only did May retain key players and reel in the portal guys, he maintained or earned the commitments of several impact high school recruits including Durral Brooks, Justin Pippen, and Lorenzo Cason.

Thus, when Michigan basketball fans look toward the 2024-2025 season they have been gifted a lineup made up, not of walk-ons or fringe starters, but of young men who could very well make the Wolverines a tournament team next year. They have a big man in Goldin who can both rebound and show an offensive finesse that has been absent since the departure of Hunter Dickenson. They have a solid backcourt in Gayle and Donaldson, and a much deeper bench than last year. That last point is key given that Michigan seemed to play well enough in the first halves of so many games, only to tire out and fall apart before the final buzzer sounded.

Michigan basketball has built an impressive roster

The Wolverines, as they are currently constructed, seem already to be a more complete team as compared to the past few seasons. They have talent spread across several positions and a mix of young and talented players next to experienced veterans with tournament experience.

The balance of how May has built this roster means that scoring could come from multiple players and the Wolverines can lock down on defense in ways they seemed incapable of doing under the last few years of Howard’s tenure. There are still plenty of questions as to how so many transfers from different schools, with different systems and fits, will coalesce into a solid team, but there is no doubt anymore that the talent is there, and that Michigan has a coach who is equipped to harness that potential into a winning squad.

Wolverine fans aren’t the only ones noticing the amazing rebuilding job May has been doing in his brief tenure in Ann Arbor. Michigan basketball is No. 1 in On3’s transfer portal rankings, and The Athletic has noted that May is turning Michigan into “one of the more intriguing teams going into the 2024-25 season.”


What Dusty May is doing at Michigan so far is special not because he is guaranteeing Michigan a return to national prominence as far as basketball is concerned. Success isn’t something that is assured, it’s something that is earned by doing exactly what May is excelling at: making incremental moves and taking a program that just a few months ago seemed decimated and relegated to the ash heap of the Big Ten and giving Michigan fans something they didn’t have the last few seasons under Juwan Howard: hope that the future of Michigan basketball will be a contender very soon.