The Michigan Wolverines announced on Thursday afternoon that forward Franz Wagner will return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season after a discussion behind the scenes about his potential NBA Draft stock.
“It’s important for me to thank Coach Howard and the staff for not only giving me the time to think about this decision, but also help me gather as much information as I could,” Wagner said in a statement. “Returning to Michigan is the right step for me not only as a basketball player, but as a person, too. This first season was a transition, competitive, fun and one of growth. I am very much looking forward to getting back to Ann Arbor and living that again.”
Wagner averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in just under 31 minutes per game as a freshman with the Wolverines. He missed the first two weeks of the regular season while working his way back from a wrist fracture he suffered in camp.
“Franz and I have had many wonderful conversations since the end of the season. He really took the opportunity to look into everything he could before making his final decision — a decision we are elated for,” head coach Juwan Howard said in the release. “His leadership, work ethic and desire to make not only himself, but his teammates better is incredible. I have said Franz is an emerging basketball talent; however, it is his demeanor, integrity and character that I love even more. Beate and Axel have raised two wonderful young men.”
It was a bit of a slow start early, but his offense came along and he was arguably the team’s best player in the few few weeks of the season. After missing out on the five-star prospects that Michigan did on the recruiting trail, Wagner now looks to be one of the key pieces for the ceiling of the team next season, along with Isaiah Livers. The press release provided no update on his NBA Draft decision and said he continues to go through the evaluation process.
Without any declarations to this point for the draft, the Wolverines currently have one open scholarship spot. They continue to search the transfer portal for grad transfer help at the guard position and were recently named as one of the current finalists for the services of George Mason’s Justin Kier.