Another name has popped up on the transfer market that could be of interest to Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning. We have already done profile previews of William and Mary’s Jack Whitman, and Fordham’s Chris Sengfelder.
Michigan’s redshirt-junior Mark Donnal is another guy who potentially fits the mold of what the Deacs are looking for. He is a 6-9, 240 pound power forward who will transfer from the Wolverines program to play his final year elsewhere. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.8 RPG.
Michigan big man Mark Donnal told ESPN he will transfer.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 27, 2017
His brother is Andrew Donnal, an offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams.
Quite frankly I’m not sure of the full story behind this guy because at face value he appears to be somebody who could be a valuable asset to a major college program. If he stayed at Michigan it seems like he would be in line to start and get some quality playing time. Perhaps he has been asked to move elsewhere to line up a scholarship for somebody else in Maize and Blue (one Mohamed Bamba perhaps?).
His minutes were cut from 2015 to 2016, so perhaps there was a rift between him and the coaching staff? There are some brutally honest quotes in this article written earlier this year from head coach John Beilein on Donnal:
Beilein wouldn’t say Monday that Donnal even is promised his potential fifth year, a conversation that is usually held before the fourth year.
“He’s a senior right now playing in his fourth year but he does have an extra year (of eligibility,)” Beilein said. “We’re going to stop putting the redshirts next to the name. ... He’s in a senior year. He’s got to get himself in great shape. But we’ve all seen what he can do. We need about 35 games like that at least from him this year.”
Donnal played 30% of the Big Ten champions minutes this year, producing a very good offensive rating of 130.6. While this was in a limited usage and shooting rate, he shot 65% from the 2-PT line, 78% from the FT line, and 50% (on 18 shots) from 3-PT.
I haven’t seen him play so I cannot assess his defense in the last, but had a decent block rate his redshirt sophomore year. I am guessing that defense may be an issue if he has a polished offensive game, but that’s pure speculation on my end.
I will say that the Twitter reaction about him from Michigan is astonishingly negative. While social media is never exactly a beacon of positivity, there are usually positive comments intertwined in the sea of bashing, but that’s not the case here.
"It's very complicated, for sure," Donnal said Wednesday afternoon. "I don't know if it's necessarily Senior Day. Since, I ... I'll play again next year. I guess it is Senior Day? I don't know. I guess it's actually more of a going away party or something like that."
Specifically cited as issues are his rebounding and defense, presumably the things that Wake would want to use the most. That is somewhat troubling, but his efficiency numbers have me interested.
My conclusion on Donnal based on what I know about his stats, reaction, and coaching quotes is that there were some off-court things going on with him. That can mean that it was just a bad fit with the Michigan program, or perhaps something about the player himself.
Regardless, he appears to be a guy who could help the team out, and based on what I see out there he’s definitely worth the conversation.