Michigan Wolverines wing Franz Wagner announced on Tuesday that he will forgo his remaining eligibility and enter his name into the 2021 NBA Draft. He will hire an agent, which closes the door on a potential return to the college ranks.
Wagner’s is ESPN’s No. 9 prospect on its current NBA prospect big board and he was widely expected to move on, so this is not surprising. Wagner’s length, athleticism and prowess on the defensive end of the floor have made him a near-lock to be selected in the top half of the draft.
“In his two seasons with the Wolverines, Wagner started 55 consecutive games after missing the first four games of his career due to a wrist injury,” the Michigan release says. “He finishes with 661 points (12.0 ppg), 334 rebounds (6.1 RPG), 33 double-figure scoring games (six 20+) and four double-doubles. Despite the 2019-20 postseason getting canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wagner closes with a 42-17 career record.”
Wagner’s presence with the program helped usher in a new era for Michigan Basketball under Juwan Howard. He wrote a letter about his decision that was published on Tuesday in The Players’ Tribune.
One thing I’m really proud of from my college career is how we showed people that Michigan Basketball is here to stay. After Coach Beilein left, there were a lot of doubters. People were questioning whether Michigan was about to take a step back. And I feel like Coach Howard and our vets, like Zavier, they just got us locked into this mentality where we weren’t going to let that happen. It became like a mission: Not only were we refusing to take a step back — actually we were going to push things forward.
And I feel like we just kind of kept making these statements with our play. Like, beginning the Coach Howard era with a seven-game win streak, that was a statement. Winning the Big 10 in year two, that was a statement. Earning a #1 seed for the first time since the Fab Five, that was a statement. I know I only was around for two seasons, but I still hope you all will consider me a part of that legacy. Of telling the world that Michigan hoops isn’t going anywhere.
Wagner was inconsistent offensively throughout his time at Michigan, but he did an outstanding job on defense and was an extremely underrated distributor of the ball. He will be missed by the program.
Michigan is now at the scholarship limit of 13 players — plus a free year for Eli Brooks — ahead of the 2021-22 season.