On Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines got some big news as sophomore guard Kobe Bufkin declared for the 2023 NBA Draft. After two impressive years with the Wolverines, Bufkin is poised to take the next step in his basketball career. Most figured Bufkin was on the edge, but it’s clearly he’s diving deep into an NBA pursuit.
Bufkin, a 6-foot-4 guard from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was one of the top recruits in the class of 2022. While he was a slow developer, Bufkin generally lived up to his recruiting billing by the end of his career in Ann Arbor. During his second season with the Wolverines, he averaged an impressive 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. He also shot 48.2 percent from the field and really progressed down the stretch.
He had a number of remarkable performances throughout the season. He had 23 points in Michigan’s win over Toledo in the NIT and 28 points in the shocking win over Wisconsin in late February. His 17 points against the Spartans was also a notable performance.
Looking ahead to the NBA Draft, Bufkin’s scoring ability and shooting stroke will undoubtedly attract attention from teams. He has the potential to be a productive scorer at the next level, and his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc will make him a valuable asset. He’s also young for a true sophomore, which will make him particularly attractive late in the First Round. However, Bufkin will need to continue to develop his game if he wants to be a star in the NBA. He will need to work on his defense and add some size to his frame.
His departure also leaves Juwan Howard and staff with some major challenges ahead. The Wolverines have been active on the recruiting trail, but the team is now looking at replacing three of its most productive players from last season, with Jett Howard and Hunter Dickinson already departing. We’ll have to keep an eye on things and see what the staff does to address the substantial losses.