Eli Brooks' return gives the Wolverines a veteran presence in next season's backcourt. Julia Schachinger/Daily. Buy this photo.

Senior guard Eli Brooks will be returning to the Michigan men’s basketball team for a fifth year, the program announced via social media on Wednesday afternoon.

“Taking advantage of the NCAA’s one-time in response COVID-19, Eli Brooks met with coach (Juwan) Howard & accepted the additional year to return for the 2021-22 season,” the team announced.

Brooks proved to be an integral part of the Wolverines’ success this past season. He averaged 9.5 points per game to go along with 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He also acted as Michigan’s primary on-ball defender, typically drawing opposing team’s top scoring guards as his assignment.

Because of the 2020 season’s early cancellation due to COVID-19, the NCAA has allowed players an extra year of eligibility to make up for their lost postseason. Brooks is the first Wolverine to accept the offer, with graduate guard Mike Smith and senior forward Chaundee Brown Jr. previously declaring for the NBA Draft. Brooks will likely be a key leader for a young Michigan squad next season, having previously served as one of the team’s three captains alongside senior forward Isaiah Livers and senior center Austin Davis.