Early last week, BTPowerhouse got the chance to reach out to one of the more interesting prospects in the 2015 recruiting class and a player that recently committed to play for the Michigan Wolverines next season. Fans may know where Moritz Wagner will play next year, but there are still a lot of interesting things that attracted him to Ann Arbor, about the way he views the game, and how he hopes to impact the team on the court next year.
Wagner comes out of Berlin, Germany and as such, is set to bring an international flavor to Michigan's roster. He is currently rated as a 3-star recruit according to the 247Composite and as #38 power forward in the nation. However, with the difficulties of international scouting, many believe he could be underrated.
During our discussion, Wagner touched on this and talked about how he perceives international basketball today.
"[There are a] lot of systems with plenty of various options. The main difference though is that European players often are familiar with how to fill their role in several systems. They need it to compete against much more athletic opponents," Wagner said. "The Europeans really emphasize the details of the game."
Wagner also said Michigan's style of play was one of the things that attracted him to the Wolverines.
"I think Coach [Beilein]'s offense is comparable with the European way of playing. Great shooting, a lot of cut possibilities and back screen action," Wagner stated. "This is an amazing coaching staff which really cares about their players. I felt like I really want[ed] to be part of this!"
Along with the coaching style, Wagner cited the facilities, the professionalism of the program, and strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson as things that attracted him to Michigan. Of course, basketball was not the only thing that attracted Wagner to Ann Arbor. He is looking forward to pursuing his education and enjoying some of the other aspects of the city.
"Excited to do some homework. [It] sounds crazy, but after one year without anything but basketball, I really want to learn something. I am also so excited to visit football games! Those pictures with all those people ... it has to be amazing!"
There is a lot that Wagner is looking forward to at Michigan, but one thing he is trying to avoid is getting ahead of himself. Although some believe he could be in the starting lineup for the Wolverines early next season, he is focused on simply getting in and working hard.
"I just want to come to Michigan and work hard and give everything I have everyday to [become] a better player," Wagner said. "I will work hard, will be myself, and then we will see how I fit in and what my role is."
His attitude is certainly a good one to have coming into a roster as deep as Michigan's next year and Wagner talked about taking parts of his approach from NBA greats like Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki not only because of their success on the court, but also because of their work ethic .
"[Dirk] always worked as hard as possible, which is why he is an idol for me. [Durant] obviously was a workholic too. KG is my biggest idol. I really love [Garnett] due to his intensity and his willingness to win. I really identify with this approach and he hates losing as I do."
Next season, Wagner is projected by most to be in competition for the rotation at the power forward position for the Wolverines and if things go right, possibly even a starting spot. Still, Wolverine fans should be excited about a prospect who is excited to get to campus, work, and fill whatever role the team needs of him.