Michigan sophomore wing Franz Wanger announced Tuesday he will forgo his final two years of eligibility and submit the necessary paperwork to declare for early entry into the 2021 NBA Draft. Wagner intends to hire an agent.
He is projected by ESPN.com as the No. 9 “Best Available” player in the July 29 NBA Draft.
“I’ve decided to enter the 2021 NBA Draft,” he wrote on The Players’ Tribune.
“I’ll be honest … I’m definitely feeling a lot of emotions about it. I’m hopeful, more than anything — as playing in the NBA has been a big dream of mine. It’s something I’ve been working extremely hard for. And after talking with my coaches and my family, I know it’s something I’m ready for. From a basketball perspective, this is the move for me to make right now. (Plus, I mean, if Moe can play in the league — obviously they’ll take anyone.)”
Berlin, Germany native Wagner becomes the first Michigan underclassman to declare for the NBA Draft since Jordan Poole (1st round, 28th overall pick to Golden State) and Ignas Brazdeikis (2nd round, 47th to New York) left early following the 2018-19 season.
Wagner is the second in his family to leave the Wolverines after his sophomore season. Wagner’s brother, Moritz, helped U-M reach the 2018 Final Four and national title game before leaving early for the NBA Draft. In the 2018 NBA Draft, the elder Wagner was selected in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers (25th pick) and has had stops with the Lakers, Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics before his current spot on the Orlando Magic.
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. 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.
In 2020-21, Wagner helped the Maize and Blue to a 23-5 record and the program’s 15th Big Ten regular-season title with a 14-3 record. The All-Big Ten second teamer had a career season as he averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists, led U-M with 35 steals, and was second with 29 blocks. Michigan earned the No. 1 seed for the Big Ten Tournament for the first in seven years and second all-time and was a No. 1 seed (East Region) in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 28 years and third all-time.
As a freshman, Wagner became the 10th Wolverine to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team and was awarded Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors three times. He averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds, as he produced 17 double-figure scoring games with two 20+ including a career-high 22 at Purdue (Jan. 22). He led Michigan with 34 steals and was second with 41 three-pointers.
(Release via Michigan)