Michigan announced earlier this week that rising sophomore forward Franz Wagner will be foregoing the 2020 NBA Draft and returning to the Michigan Wolverines. This is huge news for a Michigan program that is already seeing a few key departures.
As a recruit, Wagner arrived in Ann Arbor with a considerable amount of hype. He was rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports and the No. 114 player in the national composite. Most fans hoped Wagner could fill in a clear void in Michigan’s starting lineup last season.
And Wagner lived up to the hype last year. He started 27 games for the Wolverines last season and averaged 11.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Wagner also showed some major promise down the stretch, scoring double-digits in the team’s final seven games of the season.
Simply put, Wagner’s return is a significant one. Not only is he a great player, but he fills a key need for the Wolverines on the wing. And with Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske departing, Wagner should help alleviate some of the team’s lineup concerns.
Here’s what Wagner had to say in a release:
“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,” said Wagner. “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.”
And head coach Juwan Howard:
“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,” said U-M’s David and Meredith Kaplan head men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard. “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.”
All eyes will now turn to Isaiah Livers, to see whether he will follow Wagner back to Ann Arbor or remain in the NBA Draft.