Franz Wagner’s Michigan career is over.
On Tuesday, the sophomore guard declared for the NBA Draft in a letter published to The Players’ Tribune. Wagner intends to hire an agent, foregoing his remaining years of eligibility.
“Sadly, now it’s that time. It’s time for me to say goodbye to Ann Arbor, and to take on this whole new challenge in the NBA,” Wagner wrote. “I don’t know what the future will hold for me there … but I’m excited to find out. And it’s like I said — I’ll always know one thing for sure: I’m proud to be able to call myself a Michigan Wolverine.”
Wagner, a projected lottery pick, shouldn’t have to wait long to hear his name called come June. At 6-foot-10, Wagner emerged as a menace defensively, utilizing his length and wingspan to fluster smaller opponents.
Wagner’s offense improved in several facets from his freshman season to his sophomore season. This past year, he averaged 12.5 points per game and cemented himself as one of Michigan’s key playmakers and go-to threats. At his best, Wagner uses his long strides to gallop through the paint for easy baskets. He contributes in other areas of the game as well, averaging 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a sophomore.
At times, though, Wagner disappears within the flow of the game. His struggles were never more evident than in the Wolverines’ season-ending loss to UCLA in the Elite Eight, in which Wagner went just 1-for-10 from the field. His 3-point shooting, which improved from 31% to 34% over the past two seasons, remains a work in progress.
Wagner will be following in the footsteps of his older brother, Moritz Wagner, who played for the Wolverines from 2015-2018 and was the 25th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018 NBA Draft.
When Wagner conceivably hears his name called in June, he will become the first player in the Juwan Howard era to be drafted.