The Michigan Wolverines, like the rest of the college basketball world, saw their 2019-20 season come to an abrupt and disappointing ending with the cancelation of the NCAA Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That unceremonious ending has pushed up some of the offseason questions coming off of Juwan Howard’s first season as head coach, namely with a pair of players that might look to make the jump to the NBA.
Howard, who is bunkered in currently with his family in Miami, Florida, spoke to the Michigan media contingent on Thursday afternoon and was asked about potential NBA Draft decisions for forwards Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner. Both have been discussed as possibly early entrants.
“Right now, Isaiah is evaluating,” Howard said. “He’s having time to sit down with his parents, as well as evaluate an opportunity to hire an agent to see what’s the best decision moving forward for next year. Either playing at the next NBA level or playing with the University of Michigan. I trust that Isaiah will (ask for his parents and Howard) to help him evaluate what is the best vision for his future. I will do whatever I can to give him my honest opinion. Bit right now, we haven’t had a true discussion yet.”
Wagner is currently with his brother, Moritz Wagner, and family in the United States. Howard said that these are conversations that he has not had in depth with either player.
“Well, Franz and I had a brief conversation about testing the NBA waters,” Howard said. “We haven’t had an in-depth discussion at all quite yet. But, you know, his name has been mentioned, as far as a guy who can possibly test the waters. I know he’s going to make the best decision for himself and his family. Right now, he’s spending time with his brother as well as his parents and I assume that they will have those discussions at the right time.”
Despite the halt of all sporting operations across the nation due to the coronavirus, Howard said that both players are aware of the draft chatter and are going to take the time to make the best decisions for their futures.
“They have been proactive with making sure that in all the communication and all information that the NBA sending us, they are aware of it, and they will communicate with their parents and family members and make the best decision (for their futures),” Howard said.
Livers was Michigan’s leading scorer this year with 12.9 points per game and shot 40 percent from three-point range, but missed nine games in the middle of the year due to a groin/lower body injury. Wagner, who missed the first two weeks of his freshman season, flourished late in the year and finished the season averaging 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He would also be an All-Big Ten freshmen team selection.