Watson made his announcement on Twitter early Thursday evening:
During my time at the University Michigan I have learned and experienced so much. I enjoyed the relationships and memories that I made. Thank you to the coaching staff and my teammates for making my experience so great! After much thought, I have decided to explore other options. pic.twitter.com/tlCQrqQKek
— Ibi Watson (@ibi_watson_2) April 12, 2018
A former 3-star recruit from Pickerington, Ohio, Watson played very sparingly over his two seasons in Ann Arbor. He averaged 1.8 points in just over 5.0 minutes per game, appearing in 45 career contests. Much of his playing time came late in games when the game was virtually decided.
Watson only eclipsed double-digit minutes in five career games, four coming this past season, including a career-high 13 against Southern Mississippi.
Watson found himself buried on the bench in both of his years, surrendering minutes to the likes of Zak Irvin and Duncan Robinson during his freshman year, then Charles Matthews and emerging freshman Jordan Poole this season. It ultimately made him the third option for the “3” man on the floor for head coach John Beilein.
The announcement from Watson is the latest of what could be a big roster shakeup for Michigan as they enter the offseason. In addition to him and Hibbitts, the Wolverines are losing three seniors from this year’s team: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Jaaron Simmons, and the aforementioned Duncan Robinson.
Of more importance, fans eagerly await decisions from juniors, Moritz Wagner and Charles Matthews, as both are pondering foregoing their remaining college eligibility to enter their name for the 2018 NBA Draft. Latest mock drafts have Wagner as a mid-second round pick but Matthews going undrafted.
As far as next season goes, assuming Wagner and Matthews both return for their senior seasons, Michigan is currently within the limits of 13 scholarship roster spots for the 2018-19 campaign, meaning their current class of incoming freshman for next season can sign with anyone being left out. It’s a class for Beilein that currently ranks 3rd in the Big Ten, behind Maryland (1) and Michigan State (2), and 16th nationally.