While Moritz Wagner is now with the Los Angeles Lakers, Charles Matthews will be back with the Michigan Wolverines this fall. Both players tested the NBA waters prior to the draft this spring, but Wagner made the full leap to the pros.
The decision for Matthews to return seemed like the right one. Many experts had him sliding down the draft board throughout the process, and NBA second rounders are far from guarantees to see playing time, let alone make the full roster. Meanwhile, Michigan head coach John Beilein has a reputation of preparing raw college players into future draft picks, as evidenced by the seven Wolverines selected in the first round during his tenure.
However, there might have been more than just the development angle to Matthews’ return. Fresh off an NBA contract of his own, new Miami Heat Duncan Robinson joined The Ringer’s One Shining Podcast to discuss, among other things, his time at Michigan. When hosts Mark Titus and Tate Frazier asked Robinson about what feedback Matthews received prior to the draft, Robinson provided some illuminating details:
“He was going to leave, honestly, but he ended up hurting his wrist and he missed some workouts, so he decided to come back because he wasn’t able to work out for some teams.”
This injury was not widely publicized elsewhere, and it is impossible to validate how much it played into Matthews’s decision to return to Michigan, but there is reason to believe his teammate’s account.
Either way, it did not seem like Matthews was trending towards a lottery selection in 2018. Another season under Beilein, however, could lead to a different outcome in next year’s draft.