Michigan wing Ibi Watson says he will transfer

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Sophomore wing Ibi Watson will be suiting up somewhere next season, but it won’t be at Michigan.

Watson announced his intentions to transfer and leave the program on Twitter Thursday night.

“During my time at the University Michigan I have learned and experienced so much,” Watson tweeted. “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.”

The news comes one day after the team’s end-of-season awards banquet where Michigan coach John Beilein said “there could be” more roster attrition in addition to junior center Moritz Wagner and redshirt sophomore wing Charles Matthews, who are weighing their options and could leave early for the NBA.

Watson appeared in 26 games off the bench this season and averaged 2.2 points and 0.8 rebounds in 5.2 minutes per game. He shot 38.9 percent (21-for-54) from the field and 32.3 percent (10-for-31) from 3-point range, and pulled down more offensive (11) than defensive rebounds (10).

Watson split time between the two and three positions behind senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Matthews, who both led the team in minutes played. But he saw his playing time take a hit with the emergence of freshman guard Jordan Poole midway through the season.

More: UM’s John Beilein expects staff to remain intact, for now

Watson was part of Michigan’s four-man 2016 recruiting class and has two years of eligibility left, but will have to sit out next season wherever he goes due to NCAA transfer rules. He averaged 1.8 points and 4.9 minutes in 45 career games.

His departure opens a scholarship for next season and would create enough room on the roster if Wagner and Matthews both decide to return.

Watson’s exit is also the second for Michigan this week and comes two days after walk-on forward Brent Hibbitts announced he has been granted his release and will pursue a grad transfer.