Michigan wing Franz Wagner, who missed the first month of the season due to a fractured right wrist, is set to make his debut against Iowa State in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday.
The freshman will replace struggling sophomore guard Adrien Nunez, who’s coming off a 2-for-10 performance against Houston Baptist and is shooting just 25-percent from deep so far this season, in the starting lineup.
“Franz is talented,” first-year coach Juwan Howard said at Big Ten Media Day in October. “Franz is a big, huge pickup for us. In my opinion, if Franz lived in the U.S. he’d be the equivalent of what today’s players are rated five-star — he’s that good. And to be almost 6-foot-9 at a wing position, he has a high IQ. He’s tough, he’s skilled. He can put the ball on the floor, create his own shot, and he’s not afraid to dunk on you.
“One thing I did not mention which I should’ve mentioned first was he’s an underrated defender. We all talk about his skill level offensively, but the guy can defend. He wants to defend, and that’s the beauty of Franz. He’s going to be a pro.”
With Wagner now in the fold, Michigan’s offense could see a new dimension of scoring. Wagner adds a jolt of ball-dominant scoring to an offense that is primarily rooted in pick-and-roll and transition scoring. Wagner figures to complement junior forward Isaiah Livers, who has showcased his ability to score on all three levels so far this season.
The younger brother of former Wolverine forward Moritz Wagner, Franz will now begin his own path at Michigan.