Moritz Wagner’s time at Michigan has come to an end.
In an article for The Players’ Tribune, the junior forward announced his intentions to sign with an agent and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft.
“This wasn’t an easy decision for me,” Wagner wrote. “I know people always say that, and maybe it sounds like they don’t 100 percent mean it. But I’m telling you guys — the idea of leaving Michigan, of leaving this community, is really tough. This place has really started to feel like home.
“I feel like this is the right time for me. I feel like I’m ready to move onto this new challenge in life — to give it my best, and to do whatever it takes to make it at the next level.”
Throughout the article, Wagner covered all of his bases. The junior forward reminisced about the Michigan fanbase, this year’s team’s run to the National Championship, former Wolverines such as Caris LeVert and Jordan Morgan who often advised Wagner about his game as well as his relationship with coach John Beilein.
“Moe has been a very special young man in his three years at Michigan,” Beilein said in a statement released Saturday morning. “Coming to the United States at 18 years old and thriving the way he has is an amazing story. He truly embodies what Michigan basketball is all about.
“He is an excellent student athlete who has embraced his education, life on campus and his athletic opportunity since the first day he came to Ann Arbor. His grit, selflessness, energy and fun-loving side was contagious and a significant reason behind our success. That part of his personality will always be a part of Michigan basketball lore.”
Wagner finished the 2017-18 season averaging 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds with seven double-doubles, and added a Big Ten Tournament MVP and All-Big Ten second team honors to his collegiate resume. He was also a key contributor to the team’s Sweet Sixteen run last season in addition to this year’s national championship appearance. Wagner declared for the draft after the 2016-17 season without an agent, and chose to return after hearing feedback from NBA scouts.
Amongst the Wolverine faithful, Wagner’s impact extends beyond just his output on the court. He became a fan favorite — as well as a Big Ten villain — because of his animated antics, one reason of many he was selected as a captain this past season and why he was considered the team’s most vocal leader.
“Moe was committed to proving he could play at a high level everyday,” Beilein said. “His daily desire for excellence, his skill set at that size, bodes well for him as he enters the world of professional basketball. I am confident he has a brilliant future awaiting him.
“We are excited to see what is in store for Moe in the months and years ahead. We wish him nothing but the very best in every way.”
Wagner is widely predicted to be an early to mid-second round pick. With his departure, Michigan will have three centers on the roster next season in junior Jon Teske, redshirt sophomore Austin Davis and incoming freshman Colin Castleton.