While the offseason for most schools means the culmination of the academic school year, Michigan's offseason has been filled with twists and turns everywhere you look. From hiring to new coaches to four players suiting up at other schools next season, there's plenty to cover on what's been happening in April and May.
This all began with the Spike Albrecht debacle, as the Wolverines needed to figure out what to do with Albrecht for his graduate transfer year. After a lot of back and forth, Michigan ultimately allowed Albrecht to transfer. This was first limited to any school not in the Big Ten, but John Beilein lifted this provision, and of course Albrecht decided to play his basketball next season at Big Ten rival Purdue.
While Albrecht was deciding where to play, other chips started to fall as well. Ricky Doyle was granted his release to transfer, Aubrey Dawkins left the program to join his dad at UCF, and Kam Chatman was the last domino to go. To sum up, Michigan lost their veteran point guard by choice, most likely let Doyle go because of the two incoming centers on next year's roster (and he'll be a major player on Florida Gulf Coast in 2017-18), and lost two wings in Dawkins and Chatman that likely would have been decent contributors off the bench.
On the bench, Michigan lost two assistant coaches to head coaching positions elsewhere. Bacari Alexander is hoping to turn his alma mater Detroit back into a Horizon League powerhouse, while LaVall Jordan hopes to do have the same success in the league as he joins the Milwaukee Panthers. Both are great jobs and leaps for two excellent assistant coaches for Michigan for many years.
But after a thorough search, John Beilein settled on two new faces: Saddi Washington and Billy Donlon. Washington was an assistant at Oakland before joining the Wolverines, and Donlon served as head coach at Wright State. Both will provide a fresh outlook on recruiting and coaching, and the Wolverines have not had nearly the same success the last two seasons they had during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Washington and Donlon are already busy on the recruiting trail. Because of Michigan's major departures, they have two open spots for the 2016-17 season they can choose to fill. I expect a graduate transfer to fill at least one of those spots, and I wouldn't be totally surprised if they keep the second spot open and look to the next year for a more high profile recruit.
As for what we do know next season, Michigan has already confirmed multiple high-profile games in the non-conference to get excited about. On December 10th, Michigan will travel to Pauley Pavilion to play the UCLA Bruins, a team that struggled last season but has unbelievable history and will be a great cross-country road test for Michigan. The next week, the Wolverines travel to Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats, a consistently good team in a raucous environment. While the conference slate won't present itself until August or September, these are two marquee games in December.
Overall, Michigan's offseason so far has been far more surprising than anyone would have anticipated. Caris LeVert continues to recover from his injury during last season, the Wolverines are still looking to add another player, and it'll be interesting to see where Chatman, the last of the four Michigan transfers, decides to play. There's a lot to look forward to for next season, and it's only May.