On Friday morning, the Michigan men’s basketball team made a crucial addition to next year’s team out of the transfer portal, adding former Columbia point guard Mike Smith.

The fifth-year senior, who announced the decision via Instagram, averaged 22.8 points and 4.5 assists on 43 percent shooting en route to second team All-Ivy League honors this past season. He missed most of the 2018-19 season with a torn meniscus, opening the door for a medical redshirt and a graduate transfer year. Because the Ivy League does not allow graduate students to compete, Smith will spend that year in Ann Arbor.

Smith chose the Wolverines over reported interest from Arizona, Gonzaga and Seton Hall. He is immediately eligible for the 2020-21 season.

For Michigan, adding Smith will provide much-needed experience in next season’s backcourt. Earlier this week, the program announced sophomore guard David DeJulius would enter the transfer portal, leaving next year’s roster thin at point guard. Outside of rising senior guard Eli Brooks, the only other primary ball-handlers on next year’s team would’ve been incoming four-star recruit Zeb Jackson and walk-on Brandon Wade, who redshirted this past year following his transfer from Duquesne.

The Wolverines had been linked to Smith last month, but that was before the team’s scholarship predicament sorted itself out. With DeJulius and sophomore forward Colin Castleton entering the transfer portal and incoming three-star forward Jace Howard set to walk on, Michigan quickly moved from one scholarship over the limit to two under.

After missing out on Harvard graduate transfer Bryce Aiken, who committed to Seton Hall on Thursday, Smith made the most sense for the Wolverines. It’s difficult to project how smooth his transition to a Power Five conference will be, as he was tasked with taking a high volume of shots when he was the offensive focal point for a 6-24 Columbia team. He won’t have to force nearly as many difficult looks at Michigan, but he’ll also be facing more athletic defenders.

Smith’s commitment leaves the Wolverines with one open scholarship for the 2020-21 roster. With that, all eyes now turn to class of 2020 five-star shooting guard Josh Christopher, whose college announcement could come as soon as Monday.

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