REPORT: Moe Wagner and D.J. Wilson may consider leaving Michigan early for NBA

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round
Mar 19, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Moritz Wagner (13) and forward D.J. Wilson (5) celebrate during the second half in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament against the Louisville Cardinals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A number of things contributed to a late-season surge from Michigan on the hardwood. They were among the teams you didn’t want to see on the docket. A big reason was the tantalizing tandem of sophomore Moritz Wagner and junior D.J. Wilson, who put together breakout seasons for the Wolverines.

The team ultimately fell short of their goal when they lost in the Sweet 16 to eventual Final Four representative Oregon. Now is the time period where college players consider their potential as a professional, especially those with years of eligibility remaining. Wagner and Wilson are in that boat, and a report is out that the two may consider foregoing those remaining years to test the NBA waters.

The key here is that they may enter “without rep,” meaning they can pull out and return to school. Any player wanting to enter the NBA Draft has until April 23 to do so, and they have until May 24 — ten days after completion of the NBA Draft Scouting Combine — to remove their name from consideration and return to school. This clause is contingent on the players not signing with a professional agent.

It’s a rule that was put in place last season to allow players considering the pro level to receive evaluation and feedback from NBA scouts and executives on whether or not the NBA would be good for them in that moment. A good example of this is Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan utilized at this time a year ago. He, as a freshman then, declared early and returned to the Boilermakers post-Combine. Swanigan has since then declared again and improved his draft stock dramatically.

Wagner (6-foot-10, 210 pounds) and Wilson (6-foot-9, 220 pounds) are two players that saw major spikes in their production from a season ago.

2015-16 MPG 8.6 6.1
2015-16 PPG 2.9 2.7
2015-16 RPG 1.6 0.7
2016-17 MPG 23.9 30.4
2016-17 PPG 12.1 11.0
2016-17 RPG 4.2 5.3

[Player stats courtesy of Sports-Reference]

There doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus on the overall stock for these two Michigan big men. The German-born Wagner is a first-round pick in the latest mock devised by ESPN NBA Draft guru Chad Ford. A mock-up from DraftExpress (last updated on 03/25) does not have Wagner nor Wilson being selected. And a mock from Sports Illustrated has Wilson going late in the first round.