Michigan basketball rounds out 2022-23 roster with Lebanese forward Youssef Khayat

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

The Michigan men’s basketball team took the international route to fill its final scholarship for next season.

Youssef Khayat, a 6-foot-8 forward from Lebanon and a class of 2022 recruit, announced his commitment to the Wolverines on Sunday.

He chose Michigan over a final four that included DePaul, Wake Forest and Xavier.

Youssef Khayat, Michigan basketball's newest recruit, has played for Lebanon's national team.

"Honestly from the start, I felt at home with the coaching staff, with the way they presented it, with coach Juwan (Howard), who is one of the best coaches right now in college basketball or even in basketball," Khayat said on The Field of 68 of his decision to pick Michigan. 

"The coaching staff immediately made me feel at home. Coach Juwan, he told me my role, how I can play, how I can impact the team, so I'm excited for it."

Khayat, 19, played for the Limoges CSP U21 program in France and was a standout in the European youth league last season, averaging a team-high 17.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per game while shooting 37% from 3-point range.

“Khayat projects as an excellent two-way player at the (Division 1) level because of his defensive prowess and ability to score the ball within the flow of the game,” Eurohoops.net’s Ludovico Basso wrote in a December scouting report.

“With his size and athleticism, it’s hard to stop him in the open court and when finishing on the move and off the catch. He probably won’t be someone who scores 20 points night in and night out but he’s going to impact winning at a high-major level.”

Basso added that Khayat projects to be “someone who could potentially guard both forward positions at the high-major D1 level and switch onto guards out on the perimeter.”

When asked to describe his game, Khayat had a similar assessment.

"I'm an attacker. I can attack in every single way," he said. "I can play transition offense, I can do everything on the court basically. I can play defense, too. I'm someone that prides himself on defense, someone that likes to play defense. I think my game translates a lot to the college level."

Khayat, who also plays on Lebanon’s national team, is the latest European-born talent to come through the Michigan program, following the likes of Moussa Diabate (France), Franz Wagner (Germany) and Moritz Wagner (Germany).

“I think them having experience with international players is very impressive,” Khayat told 247Sports recently. “The name Michigan is so important in the USA, so that paired with their experience with international players plus being a well-known program is unique.”

He’s the final piece to the Wolverines’ new-look 2022-23 roster that will feature five freshmen — guard Dug McDaniel, wing Jett Howard, forward Gregg Glenn III, big man Tarris Reed and Khayat — and two graduate transfers, Princeton guard Jaelin Llewellyn and Duke wing Joey Baker.

"(Coach Howard) expects me to put the work in from Day 1, to be someone who puts the work in and then we're going to see," said Khayat, who expects to leave for Ann Arbor "very soon" after sorting out his visa.

"Right now, my most important thing is to go to Michigan ready, to go excited to work and hopefully, this season is going to be great."


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins