College Basketball

Michigan basketball: Wolverines see yet another departure as guard Kobe Bufkin enters the NBA Draft

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Ever since his freshman season, young Kobe Bufkin was already appearing in many mock drafts for years to come. However, after his amazing second campaign for the University of Michigan, his stock went way up and now he’s regarded as a first-round pick for the next NBA Draft to be held in June. 

As he had an important decision to make this week, still having more eligible years in front of him, he finally announced he’s making the run to turn professional and enter the draft.

He wrote a farewell statement committed to every single person who’s helped him in his path, starting with God. “This is a journey built on a strong foundation of faith. To God be the glory on this path of mine, on an off the court,” he said. “I have enormous respect for the game of basketball and an equal appreciation to my village who constantly sacrifices.”

Bufkin continued on by celebrating his time in college. “I want to express my gratitud to my family and friends, to my life-long teammates, coaches and trainers over the years,” he wrote. “As a result of our collective dedication, I was able to fulfill my dream of attending and representing the University of Michigan.

“To my U of M family, it has been an amazing experience, being part of such an iconic university,” Bufkin wrote in a post. “This is including the Ann Arbor community, the outstanding academic experience, and of course, my basketball brotherhood. A brotherhood that I will forever hold close to heart.

After lots of prayer and consideration, I have decided to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft. Hail, Buff out.”

After Hunter Dickison and Jett Howard also declared this week for the draft, this means Bufkin is now the third starter (who also happen to be their top three scorers) that the Wolverines will have to replace.

19-year-old Bufkin led his squad in minutes and steals this last season

After a disappointing campaign for Michigan, the young guard’s improvement over the year was definitely one of the most positive suprises for the team. Bufkin exceeded his coaching staff’s expectations, as he went from a bench role in his first year to a Big Ten breakout star this last season.

Take a look at Bufkin’s best highlights from his recent sophomore campaign:

Let’s take a look at his numbers to compare both seasons. The 19-year-old’s playing time went from 10.6 to 34 minutes per game, as all his other stats have also grown exponentially. As a full-time starter, he averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 33 matches.

His shooting efficiency has been outstanding so far, dropping 48.2% of his attempts from the field and 35.5% from behind the arc. However, his biggest improvement has been on the defensive end, as he’s accumulated 43 steals and 23 blocks on his sophomore year.

The young guard is simply getting better by the day; his career-high stats grew especially during the second half of the conference schedule. In his last 12 games for the Wolverines, he averaged 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists and shot 45.1% from three-pointers.

Bufkin also proved to have the stamina to endure a whole season at the top of his game, as he only missed one contest due to an ankle injury, registering a team-high 1,121 minutes for the University of Michigan.

Antonio is a life long sports enthusiast and professional journalist, who shares an obssesive urge to find and dig up the most interesting facts to guide gamblers towards more exciting, yet safe bets. In his own words, ''you can never really know enough about the things you love''.

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