There is an enormous amount on the line for the Michigan Wolverines in the 2021 NCAA Tournament from a team perspective. However, the event also affords the opportunity for individual players to showcase their talents against a national audience every game. Michigan sophomore wing Franz Wagner is among the top players NBA scouts will be watching.
An increased workload is likely to come for Wagner, who will be tasked with stepping up on the offensive side of the court with the injury to Isaiah Livers. Even without that, SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell has Wagner as the Indiana Pacers’ No. 10 overall pick in his latest mock.
Here’s what O’Donnell has to say about Wagner, who is one of 15 players in his projected 30 picks that are playing in the tournament.
Wagner is an intriguing defensive prospect who has posted an impressive 3.4 percent block rate and 2.6 percent steal rate this season. He’s shown an ability to space the floor by making 38.4 percent of his 86 attempts from three-point range, and his career 84 percent mark from the foul line should give teams confidence in his shooting projection moving forward. Wagner has also looked good in his reps as a pick-and-roll ballhandler this year, scoring in the 76th percentile on plays that take up nearly a quarter of his total opportunities.
Wagner has played in all 24 games this season for Michigan, averaging 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Wagner and the Wolverines open NCAA Tournament play on Saturday in the No. 1 vs. No. 16 seed matchup with Texas Southern. That game is set to tipoff at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast via CBS.