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BREAKING: Michigan’s Moe Wagner declares for NBA Draft

Mar 19, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Moritz Wagner (13) celebrates after defeating the Louisville Cardinals in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan junior big man Moritz Wagner has decided to forego his remaining year of college eligibility and enter his name into the 2018 NBA Draft.

The decision for Wagner comes just days after he openly said how unsure he was regarding his playing future, during Michigan’s postseason team banquet on Wednesday. He made his announcement through the Players’ Tribune on Saturday morning:

This wasn’t an easy decision for me. I know people always say that, and maybe it sounds like they don’t 100% mean it. But I’m telling you guys — the idea of leaving Michigan, of leaving this community, is really tough. This place has really started to feel like home.

There’s so many things about Michigan that I love, and that I’m going to miss.

Wagner’s development through his three seasons at Michigan is quite remarkable. After appearing in just 30 games off the bench as a freshman, averaging just 8.6 minutes per game, the Berlin-born Wagner started each of the team’s 77 games over the previous two seasons.

This year, he led the team in both points (14.6) and rebounds (7.1), showcasing both an inside and outside game that was a nightmare for opposing defenses to match up against. Wagner this season hit just under 40 percent of his three-point attempts.

The junior was the key cog of a second-half season surge for Michigan, highlighted by a 14-game winning streak that began back on February 11. Wagner in those 14 games averaged just a tick under 15 PPG and hit exactly 40 percent of his shots from deep, helping guide the Wolverines to a program-best 33 wins and their second national championship game appearance in the last six years.

Despite all the on-court success, Wagner in his essay talked about how he’ll most miss the Michigan faithful.

There’s so many things about Michigan that I love, and that I’m going to miss.

I’ll miss the unbelievable fans. When I was in Germany, I thought I had some sense of how big a deal the Michigan fan-base was — but the truth is I had no idea. Michigan fans … they’re everywhere, man. That’s what’s so unique about this place. Like, not just at the Crisler Center. I’m talking everywhere. Like, when we made it to the Sweet Sixteen, in Los Angeles? I couldn’t believe it — but the building was maybe 80% Michigan fans.

Our fans are the best, and the most passionate, and the most loyal that I’ve ever seen. When you’re wearing maize and blue, I’m telling you, it’s like every game is a home game.

Looking ahead, now that he has hired an agent, Wagner can officially no longer consider returning for his senior season at Michigan. His decision to part for the NBA comes just eight days before the April 22 deadline for players to decide on whether or not they want to enter into the draft.

Wagner becomes the third Michigan hoops player to depart the program this week. A pair of bench reserves, Brent Hibbitts and Ibi Watson, have reportedly elected to transfer out and use their remaining college eligibility elsewhere.

NBA OUTLOOK

As far as his projection into the NBA is concerned, there appears to be no precise draft position for Wagner. Some outlets like NBADraft.net have him pegged going in the middle of the second round, whereas Land of 10 have him going late in the first round.

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