Just over three weeks ago, it appeared the recruitment of Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown was winding down when he released a final group of suitors that included Gonzaga, Illinois, LSU and Iowa State on Apr. 25.
That didn’t stop Michigan coach Juwan Howard from trying to get his foot in the door. And now, less than a month later, Brown is heading to Ann Arbor.
Brown, who has one remaining year of eligibility, announced his commitment to Michigan via Instagram on Tuesday. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds on 45.6 percent shooting across 23 games last season, with his most impressive performance coming in a 26-point effort against Xavier on Dec. 14.
The Orlando, Fla. native also declared for the NBA Draft on Apr. 15, but now appears set to return to college. Brown is the third transfer to commit to Michigan this spring, joining Columbia graduate transfer Mike Smith and former Purdue guard Nojel Eastern.
In his three years with the Demon Deacons, the former top-40 recruit established himself as a physical presence around the rim. Brown’s 6-foot-5, 225-pound stature will improve the Wolverines’ physicality on the wing, while his 74 career starts and wealth of ACC experience could prove invaluable from a leadership standpoint.
Though he’s never shot above 35 percent from beyond the arc in a single season, he’s shown an ability to stretch the floor as a jump-shooter when necessary and knock down free throws consistently. That versatility, success and experience in a high-major conference should translate well to the Big Ten.
Like Eastern, who also announced his intention to transfer to Michigan last week, Brown will not be eligible for the upcoming season without a waiver. But given Wake Forest’s decision to fire coach Danny Manning, Brown may have a better case for immediate eligibility, though it’s worth noting he entered the transfer portal prior to Manning’s firing.
If Brown is ruled eligible for next season, expect him to carve out a sizable spot in the rotation. While Michigan’s biggest needs are backcourt playmaking and defense, Brown isn’t a conventional ‘2’ guard. His play style resembles that of a strong undersized power forward rather than a shot creator.
That being said, Brown is more than just an insurance policy on junior forward Isaiah Livers’ impending NBA Draft decision. Given his ability to get to the rim, finish through contact and cash in at the free throw line, the Wolverines could easily carve out a role for Brown in either of the next two seasons.
Without a waiver to play this season, Brown would be a fifth-year senior on an inexperienced Michigan team in 2021-22. As of now, the only upperclassmen on scholarship for that season will be Eastern, Brandon Johns Jr., Adrien Nunez and Franz Wagner, and there’s a realistic possibility the lattermost declares for the 2021 NBA Draft.
With the addition of Brown, the Wolverines are now sitting at the 13-scholarship limit for next season. If Livers returns to school after testing the NBA Draft waters and there is no further attrition, Michigan will not be able to offer a scholarship to any high school recruits who reclassify from 2021 to 2020 or any more high-profile transfers that enter the portal over the summer.