Michigan basketball starting five seems clear at this point

New Michigan basketball head coach Dusty May met with the media on Tuesday and his comments made the starting five seem obvious.
Mar 24, 2024; Spokane, WA, USA; Yale Bulldogs forward Danny Wolf (1) fights San Diego State Aztecs
Mar 24, 2024; Spokane, WA, USA; Yale Bulldogs forward Danny Wolf (1) fights San Diego State Aztecs / James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

One interesting topic of conversation among Michigan basketball fans is the usage of Danny Wolf. Some expect him to be the starting four alongside Vlad Goldin, while others don't see him being a good enough defender for that role.

However, Michigan basketball head coach Dusty May addressed that on Tuesday. He said he expects Goldin and Wolf, two 7-footers, to play "significant minutes" together next season. May also said he expects Goldin to play about 25 minutes at the five, with Wolf getting 15.

So when Goldin isn't on the floor, it's likely Wolf will be the five. That would mean about half of his minutes would be played at the four (15 a game) and half at the five. Wolf played 30 minutes per game last season for Yale, so that seems doable, although it will be more difficult at Michigan.

Michigan basketball starting lineup seems clear

To me, that settles the debate on the starting lineup. Unless Michigan adds a superstar and I don't see that happening this late, the starting backcourt is going to be Tre Donaldson, Roddy Gayle, and Rubin Jones. Wolf called Jones the best perimeter defender in the American Conference last season. He's also praised the defense of Gayle, as well as his all-around game.

With the way May talks about Jones it's hard to see him not starting. He said he landed him because he didn't want to coach against him. Jones shoots the ball well from deep and averaged 3.3 assists last season, giving Michigan three guards who essentially did that in Jones, Gayle, and Donaldson.

Add a stretch four and a dominant center in Goldin and Michigan basketball has an intriguing lineup. Sam Walters can play some 3/4 off the bench. Just imagine a 4/5 combo of Wolf and Walters. That's going to put some pressure on defenses.

Justin Pippen, Durral Brooks, and Lorenzo Cason will have to provide some depth at the 1/2 this season but May said they are capable of that. So the rotation feels set. Guys have their roles and while their play will determine things the roles are well defined.


A star player could join the roster and change things up, but for my money, the starting five for game one will be Donaldson, Gayle, Jones, Wolf, and Goldin.