MINNEAPOLIS — Junior center Hunter Dickinson and junior wing Jace Howard took the podium at Big Ten Media Days as known contributors. Dickinson provides a dominant interior presence, once again headlining Michigan’s roster, and Jace has shown flashes of versatility on defense while serving as a leader off the floor.
Dickinson and Jace are two constants amid an offseason replete with NBA draftees, transfer exits, incoming freshmen and transfer recruits.
Squashed between the pair sat an unknown in graduate guard Jaelin Llewellyn, an offseason transfer from Princeton. On the surface, Llewellyn doesn’t bring anything new to the Wolverines. He’s the third graduate transfer guard in as many years to lace up in maize and blue — following a path blazed by Mike Smith in the 2020-21 season and cemented by DeVante’ Jones the following year.
“It seems like there’s a trend with the program,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “But it’s all about the timing of how it all works as far as what we needed at that position, then the scholarships that we have available.”
Juwan acknowledged the trend of graduate transfer guards, but while Smith and Jones provided the Wolverines with a pass-first point guard, Llewellyn’s top priority is scoring the ball. Last season he averaged 15.7 points and just 2.6 assists per game at Princeton.
He brings a much-needed skill set that allowed him to score at all three levels in the Ivy League, a knack that Michigan has struggled to find since the days of Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner. Whether Llewellyn’s consistent scoring ability transfers to the Big Ten or takes a step back — like his predecessors — remains to be seen.
Although Llewellyn’s on-court impact is still unknown, he has quickly found himself at home with the Wolverines.
“I think it’s been a smooth transition,” Llewellyn said. “I mean, I’ve played a lot of college basketball and it’s basically just trying to get the flow of the offense and figure out how to gel with the guys on the team. I think it’s been pretty smooth so far.”
Llewellyn wasn’t the only Wolverine to convey this sentiment. Dickinson quickly jumped in to rave about Llewellyn’s character.
“I think Jaelin has been a real down to earth guy,” Dickinson said. “From his visit, I feel like it was somebody that I think we could gel well with. Somebody that is just down to earth and really approachable. Somebody that I really enjoy hanging out with off the court, I think that’s something that’s really big. Hanging out off the court with him makes it easier to play on the court with him.”
Both Dickinson and Llewellyn claimed the transition has been smooth, suggesting that he has built, at the very least, a baseline of chemistry with the rest of Michigan’s roster.
But with a relatively inexperienced roster and a severe lack of contiguity, the Wolverines need leaders. Llewellyn is expected to slide into the vacant starting point guard position, and with that role comes an immediate expectation of leadership, both on the court and off. Juwan certainly thinks Llewellyn is ready to take on that responsibility.
“Jaelin has been great for us so far,” Juwan said. “I love the fact of how he’s been a leader. The way how he leads, sometimes it can be vocally as well as soft spoken by his actions.”
With Juwan and Dickinson praising Llewellyn for his leadership and character, it seems as though Michigan has found its newest point guard.
All that remains to be seen is if Llewellyn can provide that production on the court.