The Michigan basketball player completes the roster with Lebanon’s Youssef Khayat

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The Michigan men’s basketball team took the international route to award 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 the back four, which included DePaul, Wake Forest and Xavier.

“Honestly I felt at home with the coaching staff from the start with the way they presented it, with coach Juwan (Howard) who is one of the best coaches in college basketball right now or even 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 explained my role to me, how to play, how to influence the team, so I’m looking forward to it.”

19-year-old Khayat played for the Limoges CSP U21 program in France and was a standout player in the European youth league last season with a team-best 17.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per game during he shot 37% from 3-point range.

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

“With his size and athleticism, it’s hard to stop him in the open and on completion from movement and catch. He probably won’t be someone who scores 20 points night after night, but he will influence victory at a high-major level.

Basso added that Khayat anticipates being “someone who could potentially guard both forward positions at the high-major D1 level and switch to fringe guards.”

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

“I’m an attacker. I can attack in any way I can,” he said. “I can play a transitional offensive, I can basically do everything on the pitch. I can also play defense. I’m someone who takes pride in defense, someone who enjoys playing defense. I think my game carries over a lot to college.”

Khayat, who also plays for the Lebanese national team, is the youngest 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 it’s very impressive that they have experience with international players,” Khayat recently told 247Sports. “The Michigan name is so important in the US that coupled with the experience of international players and a well-known program makes it unique.”

He is the final part of the Wolverines’ revamped roster for 2022-23, which will include five newcomers – 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 do the work from Day 1, be someone to do the work, and then we’ll see,” said Khayat, who expects to go to Ann Arbor “very soon” after sorting his visa.

“Right now the most important thing for me is to be ready to go to Michigan, excited to go to work and hopefully this season will be great.”

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Twitter: @jamesbhawkins

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