John Beilein reacted to Moe Wagner’s decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft with praise for the German-born big man. Beilein said that Wagner “truly embodies what Michigan basketball is all about” in a statement released on Michigan’s official website.
Beilein also spoke of Wagner’s “amazing story” and said the 6-foot-11 forward has a “brilliant future awaiting him.” Here is Beilein’s full statement:
“Moe has been a very special young man in his three years at Michigan. 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. Moe was committed to proving he could play at a high level every day. 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 scored 14.6 points and grabbed 7.1 rebounds in the 2017-18 season, helping Michigan win the Big Ten Tournament and reach the National Championship Game in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
“Coach B would have us practice our body language. He’d have us practice walking into and out of the huddle,” Wagner wrote about Beilein in his Players’ Tribune essay announcing the decision. “He’d even have managers practice acting like fans who would be heckling us — to test our focus during timeouts. It’s wild, right? The highest-stakes moment of any of our lives … and the truth is, I think we mostly all just felt super calm and prepared. Jordan will be the hero forever for that shot against Houston, and he deserves it. But I’m telling you: Without the little things that Coach B had prepared us for all year, the season is over. That play never happens.”