ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan basketball coach John Beilein and assistant Saddi Washington flew to California earlier this week on a business trip.
That trip may have been their last chance to sway D.J. Wilson to remain with the Wolverines.
Beilein said Friday, however, that the visit wasn’t so much about persuasion as it was reaching a common understanding in regard to Wilson’s future, whether it was in the NBA or at Michigan.
“Saddi and I flew out there on Monday, out and back on the same day, just to sit down with him and mom, to make sure that, eye-to-eye, we understood everything,” Beilein said.
Within 48 hours, Wilson called Beilein with his final decision. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward announced Wednesday that he would remain in the NBA draft.
— D.J. Wilson (@Lanky_Smoove) May 24, 2017
In its mock draft Friday morning, DraftExpress.com projected Wilson as the No. 27 pick in the NBA draft on June 22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Wilson, who averaged 11 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season, is the seventh player in Beilein’s tenure, since 2013, to leave Michigan early and turn pro. He joins Caris LeVert, Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas.
“Once we’re sure that they understand all the implications of a decision, either way, then you’ve just got to step back and embrace it,” Beilein said. “Because it’s not going to work, forcing people either way, either out or in. We’re really satisfied with the way it all came out.”
Moritz Wagner stays, D.J. Wilson goes
In preparing for the 2017-18 season, Beilein could have faced a double whammy. Yet a few hours before Wilson announced that he was leaving for the NBA, Moritz Wagner announced that he will return to Michigan for a third season.
Wagner is a 6-foot-11, 240-pound forward who averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Wagner was projected as a low-first round pick in some mock drafts, but was not projected to be drafted in other mock drafts.
Yup ain't getting rid of me that fast 👀🤑 pic.twitter.com/P4nvWtNWya
— Moe Wagner (@moritz_weasley) May 24, 2017
“I would’ve hated myself if I’d found myself in the D-League next year,” Wagner told MGoBlue.com earlier this week. “I would rather play in college.”
Instead, Wagner will play for the German national team in the Under-19 European championships from June 18 to July 23, and prepare for another season at Michigan.
“Going into this, he has the right attitude,” Beilein said. “They [Michigan’s previous early departures for the NBA draft] were in a situation where they probably could have gone but they decided to remain at Michigan. I sensed that same, and even more, enthusiasm from Mo.
“He wants to be more of a leader. He really values his experience here. He values his degree from Michigan and he’s coming from a different mindset. He could have turned pro right away [in Europe]. A lot of his peers in Germany, they don’t go to the United States to play.”
Beilein declined to discuss what NBA teams told his two pro basketball prospects.
“I’m not supposed to divulge any of those things,” he said.
In general terms? The evaluations, Beilein said, focused on the need to get stronger, to add consistency to their games, and skill development.
“There’s different data, but it was the information that we had gathered,” Beilein said. “It was the probabilities, the feedback and we gave that to them. Mo [Wagner] probably interpreted that as a list of reasons to stay, the probability, and D.J. saw that differently.”
Comparing Wilson’s departure to Wagner’s potential departure, Beilein explained, was akin to comparing apples to oranges.
“Two different situations,” Beilein said. “D.J. felt this was a good time to go.”