The Michigan Wolverines received a No. 3 seed for the 2018 NCAA Tournament after going 24-7 in the regular season and then eventually 28-7 overall after winning the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight season.
One of the important players for Michigan throughout its run this season has been Moritz (Moe) Wagner. Wagner is a big man for the Wolverines who is averaging a team-high 14.3 points per game, while 6.9 rebounds per contest this season.
Who is Moe Wagner? 5 things to know
1. Moe Wagner was born in Berlin, Germany
The Michigan junior wasn’t a traditional recruit for Wolverines coach John Beilein. Beilein had to go overseas to recruit Wagner and to Berlin, Germany in particular. Wagner came to the United States in 2015.
2. Moe Wagner can be seen as a classic international big, creating mismatches
At 6-foot-11, Wagner is obviously taller than most players, forcing big defenders onto him. Typically, this means a slower player is trying to defend him. What makes Wagner even more dangerous than most is what many people think of when evaluating international big men. He can shoot.
Last season, Wagner shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range. This season, he increased that number by the slimmest of margins. Wagner proved he is a consistent shooter from behind the arc, however, converting on 39.6 percent of his attempts this season.
3. Moe Wagner entered his name for the 2017 NBA Draft
Following his sophomore season with the Wolverines, he entered his name for the 2017 NBA Draft. This didn’t force Wagner to leave college, as players can test the NBA waters by evaluating where they may be selected in an upcoming NBA Draft and then pulling their name by a certain date and remaining in college.
This is what Wagner did, which led to him being with the Wolverines again this season.
4. Moe Wagner has been called “exciting” by an NBA scout
The athletic big man chose to not stay eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft because he wanted to come back to Michigan to not only help improve his game, but his draft stock. While some see Wagner as a second-round pick in the future, former Michigan Wolverines player — and current NBA scout for the Miami Heat — Glen Rice had this to say about him:
“He’s exciting. When you look at how the game has evolved, being able to have ball handling, shooting ability — for him to be able to do what he does is special. It makes it a whole lot easier for him to continue to keep moving up the ladder and being able to reach out and be that much closer to his dream.”
5. Moe Wagner started slowly in the 2018 NCAA Tournament
In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Michigan played No. 14 Montana. The Wolverines’ defense proved their dominance, leading to a 61-47 victory. But, Wagner wasn’t himself.
The big man scored five points and was just 2-of-6 from the field. Wagner also grabbed six rebounds in the game and had three turnovers. His second-round game against No. 6 Houston resulted in a 12-point performance and then in the Sweet 16 against No. 7 Texas A&M, he upped his scoring to 21.