Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Wolverines Offer 5-Star Asa Newell, Target Transfers To Fill Out Roster Puzzle

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Before Juwan Howard can start putting together his 2023-24 roster puzzle, the Michigan men’s basketball coach needs additional pieces. 

Howard will be busy this spring. 

Currently, he has a mixed-up mess.

Michigan Needs Pieces To Fill Out Roster Puzzle

Howard and Co. suffered through a trying season, capsulized by the Wolverines’ head-scratching NIT first-round loss to Vanderbilt. The Commodores trailed by eight points with 1:45 remaining, but, in that time, the Wolverines fell apart.

Hunter Dickinson missed a layup, before the Wolverines buckled under the pressure of a full-court press, committing three turnovers. Trailing 66-65 and attacking the basket on the game’s final possession, Dug McDaniel missed a runner and Dickinson missed a put-back attempt.

Game and season over.

And Howard’s roster reconstruction started soon after when Dickinson entered the transfer portal and Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin announced they intended to focus on the NBA draft.

Enduring a season where the Wolverines made a habit of second-half collapses and dropped a lethargic December matchup to Central Michigan, coach Howard faces an offseason of scrutiny.

Is it deserved, considering he guided one of the youngest teams in the nation?

It depends on the job he does this summer re-working the roster puzzle for the upcoming season and next.

That starts with aggressively working on the transfer portal for immediate improvement. And recruiting top high school talent like 2024 recruit Asa Newell for long-term success.

Juwan Howard Aggressively Working Transfer Portal 

Young, emerging talent, like Tarris Reed Jr., Youssef Khayat and McDaniel, will return and are poised to play big roles next season. But they need help. 

Already, Howard added a major rebuilding piece by nabbing transfer guard Nimari Burnett. The former top-40 recruit already spent time at Texas Tech and Alabama. Has he finally found a home? Howard on Friday also landed Seton Hall transfer Tray Jackson. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound Detroit native averaged 6.5 points and 2.2 rebounds last season and should provide front-court depth.

Howard also is linked to North Carolina transfer Caleb Love. The ex-five-star recruit also is considering his home-state Missouri as a possible destination. Love offers instant star power and a No. 1 scoring option.

Harvard forward Chris Ledlum could be an option. Named an Ivy League first-teamer, Ledlum listed Michigan among his top-five possible landing spots with Indiana, Iowa, St. John’s and Tennessee, according to On3. He will have one year of eligibility remaining. 

Additional size and grit could come from former Auburn center and five-star recruit Yohan Traore, who reportedly is considering Howard’s offer. 

So is guard Hunter Sallis. A lockdown defender, Sallis considered the Wolverines as a five-star recruit in 2021, before committing to Gonzaga. 

Howard will need a few of those pieces to complete his off-season roster puzzle.  

And straighten out his current jumbled mess.

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