Ob Michigan's whole starting lineup for the next season or just some of it, depends on the decisions of a trio of Wolverines.
Hunter Dickinson, Caleb Houstan, and Moussa Diabate are all considering a NBA prospect. They all have college eligibility remaining. Will they declare for the draft? If so, will they keep their names in?
The NBA's deadline for underclassmen to declare is April 24 (at 11:59 p.m. ET).
Even if Michigan has no open scholarships, Michigan is able to wait and work. Despite their commitment to the program, they have made it a requirement to take every call from any player who is in the transfer portal, even if it will not result in anything.
The Wolverines are guiding them through the pre-draft process.
Juwan Howard served as Michigan's head coach for 25 years in the NBA. He alone could provide helpful feedback to his players on their draft stock. And the other assistant coaches and staff members at Michigan are well connected. There is no shortage of NBA draft insights to be found within Crisler Center.
However, the Wolverines are encouraged to receive a formal assessment from the league.
According to Michigan assistant Phil Martelli, The view from others is invaluable. Players having a chance to get the NBA evaluation is a good thing.
Dickinson, Houstan, and Diabate have requested feedback from the NBA's undergraduate advisory committee, or it is a safe bet that the day will close (Thursday, April 14, is the last day to do so). Why wouldn't they?
The committee, composed of NBA team executives, provides a confidential projection of a prospect's expected draft position. A player is told if he is likely to be drafted in the lottery (picks Nos. 1-14), later in the first round, early in the second round, late in the second round, or not at all.
In some cases, there's a follow-up phone call, but individual skills are usually not discussed at this time. Houstan might be told he's regarded as an early second-round pick, but he won't be told it because he is a fast-paced shooter who needs to develop his defense. This comes later, along with actual trainings, if a player declares for the draft.
What will these Wolverines hear from NBA teams?
Dickinson, a 7-foot-1, 260-pound center, has been a great player for two seasons at Michigan, guiding the team in scoring and rebounding each year. As a freshman, he made 21-of-64 3-point attempts and is also a reliable passer.
Dickinson might be a college performer who isn't in the modern NBA, according to some draft experts.
It's possible that this guy was the 1970s, says one scout.
Dickinson will be the first person to be recognized on the back of the pick and roll in November. He's not going to be able to reach out and down the floor as you wanted. He is also very capable of shooting the 3, and he can score.
Dickinson resigned from the NBA last year after making it seem like it would be his final college season, but said this after Michigan's final game.
A pair of Michigan freshmen will have to do some thinking of themselves.
Houstan, a 6-foot-8 wing who retired in January, started all 34 games for Michigan. He shot 60-for-169 (36 percent) from three games, according to the aforementioned scout. He has been included as a late first rounder in mock drafts. (In publicly available mocks posted on the internet, there is usually no Wolverines to be included.)
Houstan is considering taking some places to shoot the hell out of it, according to the scout.
If Diabate chooses to declare, workouts will be crucial for him. He is all over the board, the scout said with a laugh. The variation with him is crazy.
Diabate was Michigan's starting power forward for much of the season. He was 20 in January and is still a good prospect in both directions. He showed little ability to score outside of the paint, although often encountered difficulties defending the better forwards in the Big Ten.
I think the kid's got a chance to be pretty damn good, said the scout. But is he a (center)?) or is he a (power forward)? Can he shoot? He's an interesting prospect.
Any player who enters the draft hopes to be invited to the pre-draft combine, which took place in May in Chicago. Dickinson was not invited last year and instead competed in the G League Elite Camp.
The defense believes the three Wolverines have a chance to be invited to the combine. Dickinson, despite his draft stock, is enormous, and NBA personnel will want some size variation at the event.
On the back of the draft, prospects who declare for the draft may be invited to individual team workouts. Running through drills designed to mimic NBA in-game scenarios, they may show off skills that weren't necessarily part of their roles at Michigan. There's also an interview portion.
Players must resign from the draft until June 1st, and they remain eligible for NCAA membership.
According to the scout, one team is to like a prospect. So perhaps Dickinson is worth a second-round pick. Houstan? Based on how this scout's franchise views Diabate, it might indicate he'd become pro. But other NBA players consider him as, at best, a second-rounder. This makes him a particularly difficult task.
Michigan has lost its starting backcourt already: Eli Brooks is out of eligibility and DeVante' Jones, after five years of college, is also moving on. It's a wait-and-see on the other starters.
Michigan isn't alone there.
I believe all programs are up in the air, Martelli said. Whether its transfers or in our case whether or not they pursue an NBA career or at least get an evaluation, said the equities.
The Wolverines' season finished in March. They will not play again until November. What happens in between is equally equally important.