Though many of the Michigan faithful had hoped that sophomore standout guard Franz Wagner would return for what would have been his junior year, the reality is that most already knew he was destined to declare for the NBA draft.
There's no question that Wagner would have benefited from another year in Ann Arbor, particularly when it comes to developing more consistency on the offensive end of the floor. Even so, Wagner's skillset is a perfect match for today's NBA - a 6-9 guard who can handle the ball, score from anywhere on the floor and defend anyone on the floor.
Shortly after the announcement was made public, head coach Juwan Howard expressed some high praise for Wagner via his twitter account on Tuesday afternoon.
"All-In, Accountability, Discipline, Trust, Sacrifice and most of all Family! You embody each of these values down to your core I want to THANK YOU for all you have done for me, and for us. This next step is going to be a wonderful & beautiful journey! Enjoy it! Go Blue!"
Wagner, who averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 2021, became the latest significant contributor from the 2020-21 season to declare for the NBA draft, joining veteran forward Isaiah Livers, point guard Mike Smith and guard Chaundee Brown.
While the losses of Wagner, Livers, Brown and Smith are significant, the Wolverines return Big Ten Freshman of the Year Hunter Dickinson, veteran guard Eli Brooks, forward Brandon Johns Jr. and several key contributors off the bench. Additionally, Michigan will welcome in transfer point guard Devante Jones out of Coastal Carolina, as well as the No. 1 recruiting class 2021.