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Youssef Khayat commits to Michigan

Where does the Lebanese standout fit in as a Wolverine? PIC: FIBA Basketball

Michigan’s needs differ depending on who you ask. A facilitating guard to feed Hunter Dickinson, a 3-point threat, more help in the paint are all some common answers. Even Emoni Bates was a popular choice from the Michigan Fansided blog. But today, they landed a commitment that more than likely will help bolster the wing.

Lebanese forward Youssef Khayat announced Sunday that he will be attending Michigan for the 2022-23 season. Relatively under-the-radar pursuits were made by many Power 6 schools, but ultimately his list narrowed down to Xavier, Wake Forest, DePaul, and Michigan in his final choices this week.

Khayat, the 19-year-old, comes from the French circuit Limoges CSP, where he stood out on the U-21 team. He leads Limoges in scoring with nearly 17 points per game, shot 44% from the field - 35% from three - and chipped in nearly 8 rebounds per game.

“I think I can bring energy on both offense and defense,” said Khayat in an interview with 247Sports. “I can guard the 1 through 5. I’m very versatile. If we play a positionless system, I can play any position.”

This comes of great value to Michigan, who lost both Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate to suitors in the NBA Draft. Houstan (Magic) and Diabate (Clippers) combined for 19 points per game last year, but showed sky-high potential as NBA contributors, and were rewarded with second-round tabs last week. With both players bringing a wealth of height to the Michigan frontcourt last year (Houstan at 6’8” and Diabate at 6’11”), Khayat immediately stands to garner at least some playing time in their wake.

Khayat garners comparisons to Franz Wagner, who contributed well-and-often on both offense and defense. He isn’t a “shot creator,” but had done a bulk of his scoring in the open court and off pick-and-roll offense, using versatility and strength to get to the basket fearlessly. Eurohoops, in a 2021 profile, said Khayat has “tremendous defensive upside thanks to his motor,” which is promising in any Juwan Howard system that values competitiveness and a drive to succeed from both an offensive and defensive perspective.

It remains to be seen how Youssef Khayat will be utilized at Michigan, but he certainly stands to get some significant playing time close to immediately. Although he’s not necessarily an elite offensive threat, there is immense value in the fact that he’s shot 35% from beyond-the-arc consistently for the last few years of his career. That alone should be enough for Howard to throw him into the fire.

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