George Washington III's return is a huge positive for Michigan basketball

Michigan basketball is getting transfer portal guard George Washington III out of the transfer portal and here's what that's a good move for the Wolverines.
Dec 29, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard George Washington III (40)
Dec 29, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard George Washington III (40) / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

George Washington III announced that he was withdrawing from the transfer portal on Thursday and staying with the Michigan basketball program.

This came after numerous conversations with head coach Dusty May, according to what Washington told 247 Sports about his decision.

The freshman, who will be a sophomore next season, told Dushawn London of 247 Sports that he met with May multiple times. The two talked about his potential role in the future. Washington also said he believes he'll be a fit for what May wants to do.

"He talked about the way guards play in his offense," he said. "He described fast pace, free, and a lot of threes. I know it's a play style that fits my skill set without even having that much familiarity with it. Once I really get into it and we get used to each other we can do a lot of damage."

Washington III was also impressed by the job May did at FAU.

"What he did at FAU was incredible. Taking a program to a Final Four is not a small feat. Even though this year they didn't make it quite as far, they still had an impressive season. The best part of their season was the way they played. It was entertaining, they were dogs, they defended and were efficient on offense. It says a lot about his coaching."

What it means for Michigan basketball

Some Michigan basketball fans weren't thrilled about the return of Washington III but it's hard to judge him based on last season. The 6-foot-2 guard ranked 95th overall in the 2023 class according to the 247 Sports composite rankings, played just 6 minutes per game. He also averaged just 1.2 points.

It's easy to say he shot just 22 percent. But he attempted 18 3-pointers all season. He made two against Purdue when he scored 10 points. Washington is a shooter though. Just look at his free throw percentage. He made 12-of-14 at the line, which is usually an indication of shooting ability. My bet is that with a year of development, he can be a rotation player.

Beyond that, he has three years left. Washington could still be a future starter. Michigan basketball is going to have to develop players in the 50-150 range. That's how John Beilein got this program to the national championship game and May will have to use a similar formula.

You can't add 10 guys from the transfer portal. I mean you can, but you don't want a team of one-year players that will need to be replaced in a year. Durral Brooks and Washington give May two pieces to develop in the backcourt. Washington was 95th. Brooks was 195th. Rankings don't matter when you can develop as John Beilein could and like May did at FAU.


That's why Washington coming back is a huge positive for the Wolverines. If May's ability to develop players is anything like Beilein's than George Washington III will excel in Ann Arbor.