Moe Wagner has declared for the 2018 NBA Draft. The Michigan basketball star made the announcement Saturday morning in an essay for The Players’ Tribune.
Michigan’s Moe Wagner enters 2018 NBA Draft
“This wasn’t an easy decision for me. I know people always say that, and maybe it sounds like they don’t 100% mean it,” Moe Wagner wrote. “But I’m telling you guys — the idea of leaving Michigan, of leaving this community, is really tough. This place has really started to feel like home.
“There’s so many things about Michigan that I love, and that I’m going to miss.”
Wagner is projected as a first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. This is the second straight year Wagner has put his name in consideration for the draft. This time, Wagner has hired an agent, meaning he cannot return to school due to NCAA rules. Hiring an agent means sacrificing that opportunity, but it also means more flexibility and availability during the draft process. Wagner is 20 years old and will turn 21 at the end of April, so he could have returned for another year without being considered a “super old prospect” if he stayed, but his age will likely be a positive if he goes this early.
Moe Wagner elevated his game as a junior to help lead Michigan on another March run
Moe Wagner first came to prominence for the Wolverines in his sophomore season, but his rise was gradual. Wagner didn’t play in six games during his freshman year, and only registered double-digit minutes 3 times in conference play. He averaged 8.6 minutes and 2.9 points per game that season, but upped those totals to 24 minutes and 12 points as a sophomore.
Wagner came alive during Michigan’s surprise Big Ten Tournament championship in 2017, endearing himself to fans while at the same time making himself a target for opposing fans.
“No, they hate me everywhere,” he told Land of 10’s Sean Keeler. “I obviously sense that. No, I know that. They hate me. That’s fine. I kind of embrace that role. And I’ve got to be honest: I would hate myself, too.”
Wagner was a sophomore supporting player on Michigan’s 2016-17 team that had seniors Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin and fellow sophomore DJ Wilson. With Walton and Irvin gone this past season, Wagner led the Wolverines with 14 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. A 27-point effort in Michigan’s win over Michigan State in January was a highlight of Wagner’s junior season, as was a 23-point game against UCLA in November.
Wagner was Michigan’s main source of offense in the Wolverines’ win over Loyola-Chicago in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 24 points, which was more than a third of Michigan’s overall scoring output. He made a name for himself in the tournament, and that surely helped his draft stock.