Ex-UM guard Ibi Watson to transfer to Dayton

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

It didn’t take long for Ibi Watson to find a new landing spot.

Less than two weeks after Watson announced his intentions to leave the Michigan basketball program, the 6-foot-5 sophomore wing posted Wednesday on Twitter that he’ll be heading closer to home and transferring to Dayton.

“I’m extremely blessed to announce that I am going to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Dayton. Go Flyers!” Watson tweeted.

Watson, a Pickerington, Ohio native, averaged 2.2 points and 0.8 rebounds in 5.2 minutes and shot 38.9 percent from the field (32.3 percent on 3-pointers) over 26 games this past season. He split time at the two and three positions behind senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and redshirt sophomore wing Charles Matthews, but his minutes took a hit with the emergence of freshman guard Jordan Poole.

Over his two-year career at Michigan, Watson appeared in 45 games and recorded 82 points, 29 rebounds, nine assists and nine steals in 219 minutes.

Watson will have to sit out the 2018-19 season due to NCAA transfer rules then will have two years of eligibility left at Dayton. The Flyers were 14-17 overall — the program’s first time finishing below .500 since 2005-06 — and placed ninth in the 14-team Atlantic 10 Conference with an 8-10 mark this season.

Watson is one of three former players who have exited the program so far this offseason, along with junior center Moritz Wagner (NBA) and walk-on forward Brent Hibbitts (grad transfer). Matthews has declared for the NBA draft but didn’t hire an agent, so he has until May 30 to decide whether to return to Michigan.

Watson and Wagner’s departures leave the Wolverines with 12 scholarship players — one under the NCAA limit of 13 — for next season, which opens the possibility of Michigan hitting the transfer market or making a late addition to the 2018 class.

“There are no limits to recruiting. Coach (John Beilein) will always do what's best for Michigan,” assistant coach Saddi Washington said on WTKA’s “The Michigan Insider” earlier this week. “Whether that's keeping our roster intact and keeping and developing what we have existing or adding another piece to the puzzle, you can rest assured it's always with the mindset to put the basketball program in the best possible situation.”