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Michigan guard Chaundee Brown granted NCAA waiver, can play this season

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Michigan guard Chaundee Brown joined the growing list of transfers to receive a waiver from the NCAA.

The Wolverines announced Friday night that Brown, who transferred from Wake Forest, has been granted immediate eligibility and can suit up this season.

Chaundee Brown

"First and foremost, whew! I am so thankful and truly blessed for the NCAA, the Big Ten, Michigan and Coach (Juwan) Howard for giving me this opportunity," Brown said in a statement. "I also want to thank Wake Forest, Coach (Danny) Manning and all the administrators and fans in Winston-Salem for giving me three unforgettable years. While it took some time, and while I was prepared for any outcome, you cannot believe the smile and how grateful I am.”

Brown, a three-year starter at Wake Forest, averaged 12.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists — all career highs — while shooting a career-best 45.6% from the field last season. He was limited to 23 games, with 15 starts, due to ankle and calf injuries.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Brown gives Michigan an experienced option and some scoring punch. He also provides the Wolverines with lineup flexibility after the departures of starting point guard Zavier Simpson (graduation) and backup David DeJulius (transfer).

Brown joins a backcourt mix that features graduate transfer Mike Smith, a point guard from Columbia, and senior Eli Brooks, who has starting experience at both guard spots, as well as junior Adrien Nunez and freshman Zeb Jackson. Brown figures to be an instant contributor and will likely play a key role in the rotation at the two and three spots, forming a formidable perimeter trio along with senior forward Isaiah Livers and sophomore wing Franz Wagner.

"We are indebted to everyone involved in this process," Howard said in a statement. "From Warde (Manuel) to Elizabeth (Heinrich) and to everyone at Wake Forest, we are appreciative. We are certainly in unprecedented times; however, having a player with Chaundee's experiences, skill set and leadership only adds to our versatility and depth this season.”

Brown started 74 of 84 games with the Demon Deacons, averaging 10.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists during his time in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has scored 10 or more points 42 times, highlighted by a career-high 26 points against Xavier and a 24-point outing against Duke last year. He’s also shot 32.8% on 3-pointers and 83.1% on free throws for his career.

After three losing seasons at Wake Forest, Brown announced his intention to leave the program, either through the NBA Draft or transfer portal, on April 15. Ten days later, Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning and most of his staff were fired.

“Chaundee has the habits of what it takes to be a winner,” Howard said in an interview with Big Ten Network on May 28, eight days after Brown announced he was transferring to Michigan.

“He’s a competitor and he’s a guy that really wants to win, do whatever it takes to win. One thing that must be said is he's a total team guy. That’s something that speaks a lot about his character and that's what I really admired about Chaundee.”

While Friday’s announcement gave the Wolverines some good news, it also provides clarity on Michigan’s scholarship situation moving forward.

With Brown not having to sit out a year, it frees up a scholarship for the 2021-22 season and Howard can add to his top-ranked recruiting class that landed five-star forward Caleb Houstan earlier in the day.

But most importantly, it ended a long wait for Brown.

"Since my arrival in Ann Arbor, I have been welcomed with open arms,” Brown said. “I was ready to do whatever I could to help us succeed either on or off the court. All I know is I cannot wait to put that maize and blue jersey on and play with this group of guys.”

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins