On Friday, the Michigan Wolverines got some exciting news as junior forward Isaiah Livers announced that he would be foregoing the 2020 NBA Draft and returning to campus for his senior season with the program. Many projected Livers would ultimately return after testing the NBA waters, but nobody was sure how the current pandemic might impact his decisions. It’s certainly exciting news for Juwan Howard and his staff.
During his three seasons in Ann Arbor, Livers played in a total of 96 games and averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in his final season. Livers was a key contributor for two NCAA Tournament teams, including the 2017-’18 squad that made the national championship game. He also looked like he was on track for some great things this season before struggling with injuries for much of the late portions of the season.
Obviously, Livers’ return is great news for Michigan as it prepares to go into its second season with Howard at the helm. Much of last year’s roster were holdovers from John Beilein‘s squad and the team was set to suffer some much transitional costs this summer, with players like Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske graduating and a number of Beilein players transferring elsewhere. Getting a guy like Livers back in the lineup should go a long way toward solidifying things this season.
Livers also fortifies Michigan’s wing group as one of the best in the conference, as Livers should start alongside Franz Wagner. The two should be part of a great perimeter game for the Wolverines. Livers should also alleviate one of Michigan’s primary issues last season, which was the team’s inconsistent and underwhelming three-point shooting.
Michigan released the following in a press release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan men’s basketball guard/forward Isaiah Livers announced Friday (July 17) that he will return for his senior season and remove his name from the 2020 NBA Draft.
“What a crazy couple of months. However, I have learned a great deal from this process, and I’m extremely excited to return to Ann Arbor,” said Livers. “My family and I are so appreciative of Coach Howard and all the staff for letting us really explore my dream of playing in the NBA. While it was a limited process due to COVID-19, I want to thank all the NBA teams who took the time to talk to me. The information I gathered is going to be invaluable moving forward. But now, we have unfinished business in Ann Arbor. I cannot wait to do everything I can and help lead this team to great things.”
“It was a great afternoon when Isaiah stopped into my office and told us he would be returning,” said David and Meredith Kaplan head men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard. “The opportunity for Isaiah, and his family, to take a deep dive and learn as much as they could about professional basketball is a blessing. Now, he has even more information to know what he needs to do to reach that next level and fulfill his dreams. For us, we not only get a skilled and experienced veteran back, we get a true leader and one of the best young men I have met.”
In his three seasons in Ann Arbor, Livers has played in 96 career games (46 starts) and compiled an 82-27 record. He helped the Wolverines to their second straight Big Ten Tournament title in 2018 while being part of two straight Michigan NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances (2018, ‘19). In 2018, U-M advanced to its second Final Four and national title game in six years.
Prior to the sudden cancellation of the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Livers was leading the Wolverines with 12.9 points per game after posting 14 double-figure scoring games — three of which featured him scoring 20 points or more, incuding a career-high 24 against Houston Baptist. In addition to his scoring, he averaged career bests in rebounds (4.0.), assists (1.1), and he missed just two free throws the entire season, shooting 95.7 percent (44-for-46) from the charity stripe. The 2017 Michigan Mr. Basketball, Livers has continued his work towards a general studies degree.
Livers was one of two Wolverines to explore the possibilities of entering the 2020 NBA Draft early. Wolverine guard Franz Wagner announced in late April he would return for this sophomore season.
What Livers and Michigan will accomplish next season remains to be seen, but this has to be exciting news for fans and the coaching staff.