Moritz Wagner’s Michigan career was clearly a success. After big sophomore and junior seasons, and a trip to the national title game, he was a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.
His younger brother is ready to take the same path. Franz Wagner made his commitment to Michigan official over the weekend, giving new head coach Juwan Howard his big first recruit.
The younger Wagner had some very attractive options though. Ultimately, he turned down the chance to play another season with Alba Berlin as a professional.
Last season, he played over 12 minutes per game for the team off the bench, but had some impressive performances down the stretch, earning an award as Basketball Bundesliga’s top young player.
Rather than taking the chance to make some money and progress his career on that side, he will head to Ann Arbor.
Franz Wagner explained his decision to come to the United States and play college basketball rather than turn pro in Germany.
Ultimately, he isn’t that worried about cashing a paycheck yet, and wants to have a college experience.
“That I can experience something new,” Wagner told Morgenpost, in an article that was translated to English via Google Translate, when asked why he chose Michigan over Alba Berlin. “That I get to (meet) new people and a new culture.”
Wagner said Alba Berlin has “everything you need in Europe as a younger player” and acknowledged he could’ve played a larger role for the club next season.
“But that’s not it. Alba did not do anything wrong,” Wagner said. “I just feel more like (getting) this college experience than becoming a professional basketball player. College basketball is also quite professionally structured, but you do not just think about basketball all the time.”
Wagner also discussed the shorter college basketball season, which will prevent some wear and tear. He’ll play a maximum of around 35-40 games, vs. over 80 in the BBL. At the same time, the American game is more physical, and can help him prepare for the NBA.
Wagner’s desire to make the jump to college so that he can focus on some things other than basketball is in contrast to many of the top recruits from the U.S., which will be refreshing to some. Either way, it is a big win for Howard and the Wolverines, who add a top 40-50 level recruit for next season.