Over the past six weeks around the Michigan basketball program, John Beilein and his coaching staff have been in contact with all 30 NBA organizations. The reason being for this is because of D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner deciding to declare for the NBA draft and possibly leave Michigan early.
The two coaches gathered up the info they were told, and with how they viewed it, made predictions on what it would mean for both Wilson and Wagner’s draft status.
For most major programs in the Big Ten Conference this isn't something they have to deal with every season.
In Beilein’s ten years with the Wolverine basketball program, the school just down the road in East Lansing that is Michigan State, has only had three players leave early (Deyonte Davis, Gary Harris, and Shannon Brown). Wisconsin, another in-conference powerhouse team in Beilein’s tenure with Michigan has only lost one player early (Sam Decker).
Michigan, if you were wondering, has now lost eight.
With the recent departure of Wilson, 21 years old, to remain in the NBA Draft process, he now joins Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Darius Morris, Manny Harris, and Mitch McGary as early draft entries.
Yet, in his ten years with Michigan, the Burt, New York native has had seven NCAA Tournament appearances with only two of them being first round exits and one Final Four appearance.
It is impressive, regardless of how you look at it compared to other coaches in the Big Ten, because of how unexpected most of these early player departures have been.
This time however, Beilein did get a huge relief thanks to the Berlin, Germany native that is Wagner deciding to return to school and really keep Michigan’s front court afloat for this upcoming season.
“Once we are sure they understand the implications of a decision, either way, you have to step back and embrace it,” Beilein told the press this past week. “It’s not going to work out if you're forcing people either way — either out or in.”
For Wilson, who has fought injuries throughout his basketball career to this point, it probably was the correct decision to leave school and try to go pro. He is projected to be a late-first round to early-second round pick.
This is the same player who barely did anything for Michigan as a redshirt freshman, scoring just 70 points and snagging only 18 rebounds in the 26 games he competed in. This past season, the 6-foot-10 forward had 203 rebounds and 419 points.
For Wilson, this opened a door to potentially start his NBA career and he has decided to take it and run with it.
For Michigan and their head coach, it leaves another familiar void that needs to be filled for a NCAA Tournament appearance.
For right now, the arrow lands directly on Duncan Robinson, a transfer student from New Castle, New Hampshire.
In his two years of game action with Michigan, Robinson went from being a starter averaging over 11 points, to the Wolverines spark plug last season, averaging just under eight points per game.
He will be pushed to keep his starting spot however, as the 2017 Mr. Basketball winner from Kalamazoo Central, Isiah Livers, will likely be his backup to start the season as a 6-foot-8 stretch forward.
So while Michigan will miss Wilson without question and what he did with his presence on the floor for them, Michigan has seen these kind of chances turn into great stories in the past.
When Trey Burke left, Derrick Walton Jr. got his chance and ran with it for four years to emerge as the leader he was to finish this season. McGary leaving early opened a door for Wagner to get where he is right now that wouldn't of happened if McGary was still a starter these past couple seasons. The list only goes on from there.
This is the normal for Michigan basketball, and really, is something that Beilein will be ready to deal with again.