When University of Michigan basketball big man Moritz Wagner made the announcement that he was considering entering the NBA Draft, Michigan fans were rightfully nervous. However, fans of the Wolverines can now relax as Wagner has announced he will return to the maize and blue for his junior season.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) May 24, 2017
Wagner told MGoBlue.com that concerns about where he might be drafted were part of his decision to return to school.
“I could’ve gone undrafted,” said Wagner, “which I don’t believe. There was definitely enough interest that I would’ve been drafted. I could’ve gone early second round or I could’ve gone between 20 and 30 (overall). But I wasn’t in the top 20 for sure. So, it was very, very risky.”
Even though it seemed risky to enter the draft this year, Wagner is very confident in his ability to compete in the NBA.
“‘Testing the waters,’ you know how everyone says that? I don’t like that analogy at all because it implies you’re not serious and you’re just dipping your toe in. I went into the NBA Combine competing and knowing I could play on that level and I still do.”
Wagner also spoke about his plans for next season with the Wolverines.
“The mission is to lead this team and to win,” said Wagner, who emphasized that last word to underscore his conviction. “I want to win the Big Ten again. Winning the Big Ten Tournament whetted my appetite; I wanted more. It’s a little early to talk about a national championship, but we go into every game with the mentality of being able to win it.”
After averaging 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds last year, Michigan coach John Beilein and the rest of the Wolverine faithful are expecting big things from Wagner in his junior year.
They are still waiting on a decision from junior D.J. Wilson, who has until the end of the day on Wednesday to make a final decision on whether or not to stay in the NBA Draft pool.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR MICHIGAN
With this reported announcement, the Michigan hoops team for next season looks a little bit more potent. It’ll be tough replacing seniors Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin. They did bring in Ohio transfer Jaaron Simmons, who also made the same decision as Wagner to withdraw his name from NBA Draft consideration earlier this month.
Also, Jaaron Simmons now has a true stretch 5-man to operate with in 1/5 high ball-screen sets. Will likely be Michigan's bread and butter.
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) May 24, 2017