Michigan Wolverines Basketball’s Mike Smith won’t be returning to Ann Arbor next season.

Mike Smith, fifth year senior point guard at Michigan Wolverines, will not be returning to the team next year, he announced on his Instagram page today. The news doesn’t surprise TheWolverine subscribers, as Chris Balas reported that Smith’s return was unlikely in a recently released INSIDE THE FORT update.

The NCAA stated that all seniors and seniors could return for the fifth year between 2021 and 22 if they wanted, which is why Smith at least had the option to return.

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Michigan Wolverines Basketball’s Mike Smith is from Burr Ridge, Illinois (AP Images)

In his lonely season in Ann Arbor after moving from Columbia, Smith averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists while playing 30.4 minutes per game. He also linked 79.3 percent of his free throw attempts and 41.8 percent of his three-pointers.

In his suicide note on Instagram, the 5-11 Guardian noted that he wants to pursue his “dreams of playing in the NBA” and that “the next stop” will be the NBA draft.

Zavier Simpson was the point guard of Maize and Blue for each of the three seasons from 2018-2020, and Smith seamlessly stepped into the starting role from day one of that year after Simpson’s graduation.

That feeling was perhaps best illustrated by the fact that Smith led the Big Ten in assists (5.4 per game) during the regular season. Illinois junior Ayo Dosonmu (5.3) and Minnesota Redshirt junior Marcus Carr (4.9) were the only other two players in the league who averaged more than 4.5 groschen per competition.

One of the highlights of Smith’s 2020-21 season was the Big Ten’s quarterfinal win 79-66 against Maryland, when he scored 18 points and spent a record 15 assists for the Big Ten tournament.

Head coach Juwan Howard will have to find a new point guard after Smith’s departure next year. The Wolverines are catching up with a four-star general in Frankie Collins, and current freshman Zeb Jackson is set to return next season as well (though viewed by many as more of a two-guardian)

The possibility that current Senior Guard Eli Brooks will return for another year also remains a strong possibility.

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