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Michigan Makes Cut For Rising Lebanese Star

Juwan Howard and his staff are still looking to add one more player to the roster and may have found him in Youssef Khayat.

Earlier this offseason Michigan landed Princeton transfer Jaelin Llewellyn — an experience combo guard who should be able to hold down the starting point guard spot. Just a few days ago, Michigan also landed Duke transfer Joey Baker. At 6-6, Baker can play a couple of wing positions and shoots it well from the outside. Now, Michigan is in the mix for 6-8, 200-pound Youssef Khayat out of Lebanon.

The long, rangy wing is just 19 years old and won't turn 20 for another nine months. Couple that youth with his experience of playing for Limoges CSP in France’s U21 program and you start to see the potential that has him on college radars. He's whittled things down to Michigan, Wake Forest, DePaul and Xavier, which obviously gives Howard and the Wolverines a really good chance to land him. 

When you watch Khayat play, several things stand out. 

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He's obviously got good length at 6-8 and is reported to have a wingspan larger than his height. When you watch him run up and down the court and finish above the rim, you can tell that he's got plenty of size for the 2 or 3 spot and could probably play the 4 in a pinch. He's a bit thin, but for a 19-year old he looks really good physically.

While he does have good length, he's not huge and isn't always interested in finishing over or through big men. Luckily, he has really good touch around the rim. He has a great float game and a soft baby hook, which come in really handy in traffic. He's a plus-athlete, but is not elite, so that touch and understanding of how to finish over bigger players while going to the rim is extremely important.

He also has a very clean and repeatable stroke. He's not necessarily labeled as a sniper from the outside, but you can tell that he can knock down outside jumpers with consistency and should be able to get his shot off regularly because of his length. In 32 games last year in the U21 league, he went 56-of-158 (35%) from distance. That comes out to him shooting around five three-balls per game. Again, he's not going to be the best shooter in the country, but he's definitely good enough to be a weapon from deep. 

Finally, and maybe most impressively, is how decisive he is. When you watch the highlights above, you can tell that when he makes up his mind about a move or a particular finish, he's going all out to make it work. Whether it's when he turns the corner around a high ball screen or if he's finishing at the rim, he does it NOW. That's a very important and useful skill for a young, 19-year old player who happens to be blessed with his length and ability. Not to throw former Wolverine Caleb Houstan under the bus, but that's what he seemed to lack far too often this past season.