MBB: Frankie Collins Out, Jaelin Llewellyn In, Diabate Gets Combine Invite
Michigan plays point guard musical chairs. Did they come out ahead?
Yeah, that tracks.
Since I wrote last week about Michigan’s 2022-23 roster outlook, multiple developments have altered the picture:
Caleb Houstan, as expected, put his name in the draft with the option to return to school. He and Moussa Diabate have until June 1st to choose whether to remain in the draft or come back to Michigan.
Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. committed to Illinois after encountering issues getting enough credits counted by Michigan admissions. Dan and I discussed this at length on last week’s podcast; it’s a frustrating issue that extends beyond athletics. That conversation begins at the 14:20 mark:
Michigan picked up Princeton grad transfer Jaelin Llewellyn, a 6’2 combo guard capable of manning the point. He had previously committed to Clemson before they fired one assistant coach and had a second leave for Georgia.
Sophomore-to-be point guard Frankie Collins entered his name into the transfer portal a day after Llewellyn’s commitment. That timing doesn’t appear to be a coincidence.
Let’s take a deeper look at how this all impacts the program.
Shifting From Collins to Llewellyn
If the season started tomorrow, Llewellyn would be Michigan’s starting point guard with Kobe Bufkin at shooting guard. Collins’ exit means U-M remains thin in the backcourt, though Llewellyn’s ability to play both guard spots — and Jett Howard’s flexibility to play small forward or shooting guard — provides some cover.
In the short term, I believe Michigan came out ahead by essentially trading Collins for Llewellyn. While Collins had his moments as a freshman, it’s exceptionally difficult for a point guard with his shooting shortcomings to run a productive high-major offense in starter-level minutes.
In Bart Torvik’s database, which goes back to 2007-08, only 25 high-major freshmen 6’2 or shorter1 have played at least 25% of their team’s minutes and shot below 50% at the free throw line. Almost none became effective starters for their original school. No, Zavier Simpson isn’t included — he was a significantly better shooter at the outset of his career than Collins.
Florida’s Chris Chiozza shot 80% from the line the rest of his career but his three-pointer showed signs of life his freshman year. Penn State’s Jamari Wheeler developed into one of the conference’s best defensive guards, which allowed him to be a wallflower on offense, and he eventually added a functional three-point shot. That pretty much ends the success stories. The list has more than its fair share of down-transfers and players who never got off the bench.
Collins becoming Michigan’s version of Wheeler would’ve been on the high end of possible outcomes. While Wheeler turned into a good player, he was always a limited one, and he never reached the upper echelon of Big Ten guards because of his offense.
While Llewellyn probably isn’t going to be an all-conference player, he provides a higher floor as a starter. He’s not a typical Princeton recruit; he ranked 99th overall with a four-star rating in the class of 2018 composite. He’s improved his two-point finishing, three-point shooting, and overall offensive efficiency every year of his career.
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