Michigan lost its best player for the majority of conference play last season due to injury. The Wolverines won't lose him this offseason to the NBA Draft.
The program announced Tuesday morning that Caris LeVert will return to Ann Arbor for his senior season.
"Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my future," LeVert said in the announcement. "My family and I, along with the coaching staff, gathered as much information as possible. After considering my options, I am excited to announce I will return for my senior year. Coming back allows me to keep working towards my Michigan degree and take the next steps in my development as a player, teammate and a leader of our program. Michigan is a very special place, and the college experience only comes once. The future is bright, and I am blessed to be part of it."
LeVert was projected by many to be a first-round pick if he declared for this summer's draft. Though his stock was certainly impacted by the broken foot that knocked him out of the Wolverines' final 14 games of a disappointing campaign that saw Michigan miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.
Despite playing in just 18 games, LeVert still had the highest marks on the team in points per game (14.9), rebounds per game (4.9) and steals per game (1.8) and the second-best numbers in assists per game (3.7) and 3-point percentage (40.5 percent). LeVert was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team and was expected to be among the best players in the country.
His foot injury in a Jan. 17 win over Northwestern derailed his season, as well as Michigan's. The Wolverines lost point guard Derrick Walton Jr. soon after and couldn't win ballgames without their two best players.
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The benefit of LeVert and Walton's absences, though, was playing time for some of the team's younger, less-experienced players such as Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who are now ready for bigger roles next season. With LeVert, Walton and Spike Albrecht back from injury — plus John Beilein returning every one of his players from this past season's roster except Max Bielfeldt — Michigan could be among the more dangerous teams in the Big Ten next season.
And LeVert gets another opportunity to lead a contender on a big stage at full health, potentially doing wonders for his draft stock in the process.
"We love coaching Caris and are excited he has decided to come back for his final season," Beilein said in Tuesday's announcement. "His injury last season was unfortunate, but he never wavered in his commitment as a leader, a student or with his rehabilitation. Caris is a special person both on and off the court, and we are proud of what he has accomplished. The best is yet to come for a young man like Caris LeVert."