Ann Arbor, MI. John Beilein has found his replacements for LaVall Jordan and Bacari Alexander on the Michigan Basketball coaching staff. The program announced today that the vacancies will be filled by Oakland University assistant Saddi Washinton and former Wright State head coach Billy Donlan.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) May 4, 2016
Donlan comes to the Wolverines after 6 years leading the Wright State program, where he went 109-94 during his tenure. However, Donlan was fired following a 22-13 season in 2015-16, a move that was heavily criticized in the college basketball world. ESPN commentator Dan Dakich tweeted that Donlan’s firing was, “awful.. no backstory just a bad administration and awful AD.”
Donlan is expected to lead Michigan’s defense, which has struggled mightily in recent seasons. Donlan, who is 39, spoke of excitement at the opportunity to be a member of Michigan’s staff. In the press release Donlan said, “As a player, I competed against Coach Beilein’s Richmond teams. I always admired the way they played and how they competed for the right way. Getting a chance to be part of that is a great opportunity, and I am very eager to get started.”
While Donlan will coordinate Michigan’s defense, Saddi Washington will likely take over LaVall Jordan’s role of developing Michigans’ guards. At Oakland, Washington had great success recruiting and developing guards, including standouts Jonathan Jones, Reggie Hamilton, and Travis Bader. Kay Felder, who recently declared for the NBA Draft, was also recruited and developed by Washington. Felder was one of the most dynamic guards in the country last season, and Michigan surely hopes that Washington can bring that type of expertise to the Wolverines’ bench.
While both coaches have taken different paths to the Wolverines’ bench, each has strong Midwestern ties, which will surely benefit the Wolverines in recruiting. Washinton is a Michigan native and spent the last ten season at Oakland University, while Donlan coached six seasons in the Horizon Conference at Wright State, which is located in Dayton, Ohio.
Now that Michigan’s 2016-2017 coaching staff is complete, expect the Wolverines to look to solidify their roster for next season. Michigan still has two open scholarship spots for next season, and it was reported earlier today that 2016 3-Star prospect Harold Baruti, was on campus for a visit today. Baruti holds an offer from SMU, but has not been heavily recruited to this point. Look for the Wolverines to try to land him and/or graduate transfers to fill out the rest of their roster.