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Michigan basketball: former McDonald’s All-American could be the answer

Could this former McDonald’s All-American be the answer for Michigan basketball?



former McDonald's All-American, Julian Phillips, transfer portal
Tennessee's Julian Phillips (2) during the NCAA college basketball game against Georgia on Wednesday, January 24, 2023 in Knoxville, Tenn. Gvx Ut Hoops Georgia

With the recent decommitment of Caleb Love, the Michigan basketball program has some questions to answer. One of the most concerning questions is the guard/wing positions. After losing small forward Jett Howard and guard Kobe Bufkin to the draft, the two positions became immediate concerns. While many Michigan fans thought guard Caleb Love would turn out to be the answer, it unfortunately was not to be. Now, it’s time for coach Juwan Howard to take a good hard look at the transfer portal yet again. One possible answer comes from SEC territory as former McDonald’s All-American Julian Phillips could be exactly what the Wolverines need.

Former McDonald’s All-American could be just what Michigan basketball needs

When we look at the Michigan basketball team heading into 2023, there are a few pretty major concerns to say the least. Possibly the biggest concern is elite guard and wing play, as most of their production from this past year is headed to the NBA. Now, as coach Juwan Howard and Michigan basketball likely turns to the transfer portal yet again, one particular name from down south might be the perfect match.

Forward Julian Phillips was a freshman this past year playing for the Tennessee Volunteers. Throughout the season, he recorded 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 41.1 percent from the field. For whatever reason, despite shooting the ball at a high rate all season long, he wasn’t put in position to be a major factor on the Volunteer offense, likely being the cause for his transfer decision.

Coming out of high school, he was listed as No. 19 player in the country and a five-star prospect per 247Sports. He also happened to be a McDonald’s All-American, so he has elite talent without a doubt. Even despite his lack of eye popping stats this past season, he was invited to the NBA Draft Combine before he elected to return and transfer. He’s that good.

With wing being a major concern for Michigan basketball heading into next season, it would be wise to at least give Julian Phillips a look. Juwan Howard knows how to get players into the NBA. Julian Phillips more than likely has NBA aspirations. This could be a perfect matchup for all parties, so keep an eye on Phillips as he continues to weigh his options for his future home.

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A recent graduate from Kalamazoo College, Tyler has four years experience in sports writing. He currently works as assistant editor for Blue By Ninety and specializes in a variety of sports such as football, swimming and diving, and basketball.