Moritz Wagner commits to Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Michigan added a commitment from 6-foot-9 German forward Moritz Wagner today. The German announced his decision on twitter.

Wagner is a 17 year old prospect (who will turn 18 on April 26th) who has split time this season between Alba Berlin’s senior and junior teams. He’s expected to be eligible in the class of 2015 and his commitment makes him Michigan’s first signee in the class.

Basics

Wagner is listed at 204 cm (6’8.3″) Alba Berlin’s official roster and 207 cm (6’9.5″) on the official roster for the youth team. While he’s been listed at 6-foot-10 in other locations, it’s probably safe to assume he stands right around 6-foot-9.

He has played very limited minutes with the Alba Berlin senior team – playing in just five games total this season – but he’s played a significant role in Alba Berlin’s youth setup. That’s not necessarily a knock as Alba Berlin is one of the better teams in Europe, even beating the San Antonio Spurs during the preseason.

In the NBBL (German youth league), Wagner is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, two assists and two steals per game while shooting 61% on twos and 30% on threes. He also averaged 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds during the Adidas Next Generation U18 Tournament, helping Alba Berlin to a third-place finish.

Playing with Germany’s U18 team in the FIBA Euro Championships, Wagner averaged 5.2 points and three rebounds in 10 minutes a game.

UConn, Duke, Providence, UNLV, Arizona and California were among some of the other schools to have been linked with Wagner to varying degrees.

Video

Scouting

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels spoke to NBA scouts that have seen Wagner play and they provided this report:

“He’s a versatile kid who knows how to play ball,” a NBA scout that has evaluated him multiple times told Scout. “He’s not an athlete, but with his length and coordination he manages to deceive his opponents and get to the rack quiet easily. Once he becomes a more consistent shooter he will be a nightmare on the wing.”

“He reads the game well, gets his teammates involved and is unselfish player,” the NBA scout added. “The most impressive thing about him is his passion for the game and the will to win. He legitimately cares for the game.”

European Prospects saw Wagner play in May and was impressed with his versatility:

The young Moritz Wagner is a really interesting prospect for the future. Used as a PF on multiple occasions, Wagner showed that he has an outside game and that his future should be on the SF position. He can shoot from outside, either on catch-and-shoot situations or in the Pick and Pop when being the screener. Wagner can also put the ball on the floor which works particularly well when used against taller power forwards. He is also able to drive with direction changes and finish against stronger or taller players in the paint. Athletically, he is looking good and with his overall length, he is a good vertical presence on both sides of the court. Wagner really needs to be used on the wing positions in the future as he has the tools to become an interesting long small forward in the future. It will be interesting to see if ALBA can do this as they will lack some inside presence in the next generations of their NBBL roster so that Wagner risks to be used as a pure PF or even center next season.

While many have described him as a shooter, his numbers are more along the lines of a more traditional face-up man that can take slower opponents off the dribble to get to the basket or the free throw line. His shooting form looks good, and will certainly be a point of emphasis for his development going forward, but just 19% of his field goal attempts at the youth level have been threes and he’s shooting 61% on twos.

Outlook

Wagner adds more size and length to an already intriguing group of front court players. Michigan will now be adding Wagner, Duncan Robinson (6-8) and DJ Wilson (6-9) into the mix next season. With Ricky Doyle and Mark Donnal returning at the five and Max Bielfeldt expected to move on, Wagner could also provide an option at the five position.

With Kameron Chatman (6-7), Zak Irvin (6-6) and Aubrey Dawkins (6-6) as as other options on the wing, the addition of Wagner should push those players more into guard spots. Despite some of their strong play, it’s clear that Dawkins and Irvin are not meant to be be four men long-term.

While there are many question marks among Michigan’s front court options, it always feels safer to have more possible answers than just one or two. It’s tough to project where Wilson, Robinson and Wagner will fit into next year’s rotation, but it’s also clear that there are minutes available for them.

  • AMANDAABEAR

    in the web link michigan is spelled micihgan

    • Yep. Got a bit overzealous posting it and misspelled it originally. Sad part is I’ve probably typed the word ‘Michigan’ more than any other word on this site :-)

      • scipiodreams80

        Hope this means you’re excited about Wagner!

  • Dustin

    An exciting group of promising and versatile talent, just gets more promising and versatile. Is it next season yet!? Hail!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds to me like Chatman may want to consider a redshirt :). If Levert comes back…then Irvin goes to the 4 because you can’t keep Dawkins off the floor.
    I am joking about Chatman but you get the overall concept…guys are going to have to fight for minutes. I have high expectations for this team.

    • Tyrell

      It is stupid to put Irvin at the 4 now. MW and DR need to be the 4; possibly even put KC in the lineup from time to time to with two other wings to get him some more minutes.

      • NorthernBlue

        It will be interesting to see who rises to the top to be the best at the 4 position. Nice thing is they can put Moe in for a few mins at the 5 and put Kam in at the 3 if need be. It is looking like a really deep team for the next few years.

      • psickert1

        DR is not a Four either…..

  • MusketRebellion

    Dylan, do you think this will in any way change our chances with Jaylen Brown?

  • kam

    Does this mean no Brown? do we have anymore scholarships?

    • If Brown wants to come, I’m sure they can make it work.

      • Corperryale

        Dylan, I assume you are referring to an alternative arrangement with Hatch? Otherwise I’m not sure how they make it work.

        • Manny Fresh

          its gonna have to be with hatch definitely

          • duffy

            There’s still the possibility that Lavert could go pro, thus freeing up a scholarship

      • MAZS

        If I understand it, putting Hatch on medical waiver limits his ability to play with the team? Another option might be for Hatch to walk on this year. I suspect he has the financial wherewithal to do so. He could then regain a scholarship when more become available. He could even redshirt to make that a better possibility. The medical waiver remains an option later.

        • scipiodreams80

          I imagine Hatch will do what is best for the team. Feel pretty confident that is an accurate statement.

          • Champswest

            That is probably right. However, I would also hope that the team would do what is right for Hatch.

          • wildisreal

            No need for hope. This is assured.

        • Tyrell

          That would be really $hitty if Michigan made Hatch take a medical waiver. They honored his scholarship last year and they need to keep that promise.

          • MAZS

            I think you misunderstand. With the medical waiver, Hatch would retain his scholarship–he would simply lose some playing opportunities, as I understand it. I don’t believe we necessarily owe it to Hatch to both honor his scholarship and guarantee him a place on the team. Otherwise, we essentially play a scholarship short for 4 years. There is no broken promise–that is not how NCAA scholarships work. I believe there are creative ways that we can stand by Austin and yet do what’s best for the program

        • Justin

          MAZS is exactly right…When placing a player on the medical waiver, he will no longer have the option to play for Michigan. Once you are on that, you are done playing. I think this is what is best if need be, if Levert stays and we get Brown. I think Jaylen is choosing between us and Kansas. That’s what my gut says because KU lost Oubre and has an open spot at the 3.

          As for us with his ties to the state, what we have academically and the way JB develops…I think it is between us two schools. If we got Brown and Levert stayed whew watch out… I still think Donnal will not finish his career at UM either, I think he will be the odd man out since he has MAC like skill level and doesn’t do one thing really well.

          Going to be an interesting month, Wagner is a good get though for European recruiting and his style of play meshes perfect with Michigan under JB.

        • psickert1

          HATCH could also get a academic scholarship as well because that kid is very bright. There are ways that we can get Brown. I am Happy for this pick up however.

  • DB

    That 30% is at the international 3-point distance, right? Even before working on his shot, he may be able to shoot a couple of points higher at the closer college distance. Enough that he can spread the floor enough to work with another big at the same time.

  • David Remmler

    Awesome! Willkommen Moritz!

    Next year is already looking very bright with or without Brown!

  • Corperryale

    I guess this means there is no chance we get Brown AND keep LeVert? I hope this announcement doesn’t have any bearing on whether Brown can come to M if he wants to, but the math would suggest it does.

    I also hope MW plays the four. Looks awful skinny to match up with Big Ten fives, especially if he doesn’t redshirt. (Do Euro guys redshirt?)

  • Matt

    Walton/Spike, LeVert, Irvin, Robinson/Wagner, and Doyle? Sounds good to me. Plus with MAAR, Dawkins, and Chatman off the bench, I’m feeling really good about this team. I think we can get top 4-5 in the B1G next year.

  • jakelam2116

    I like the manner with which he attacks the rim and dunks with authority.

  • jakelam2116

    Taking a random, way-too-early stab at rotation (assuming offseason progression for to-be sophomores): PG — Walton, Spike (will share court at times, too); SG — Irvin, Rahk; SF — Dawkins, Robinson; PF — Kam, MW, DJ; C — Doyal, Donnal, DJ, MW.

  • Wayman Britt

    Welcome Mr. Wagner. You have made a great choice and your game will improve tremondously.

    Note to Jaylen and Michelle Brown: You do not have to go to Kentucky to get to the Final Four, come join UM and the Big Ten. Not sure if you noticed, but the Big Ten knows how to play basketball. Why share minutes and shots with 7 other All Americans at UK, come join Michigan and you will get all the minutes and shots you want. In addition, develop your game for the next level with the best teacher.

    • Corperryale

      I like these open letters to Brown and Co.

      Then again, I am in the camp that thought Ed Martin got a raw deal.

  • Champswest

    Seven guys, over half of the roster, will be 6’7″ or taller and three others are 6’6″. And next year we bring in a 7 footer. I like it.

  • MGoTweeter

    welcome moe! great addition to the front court. really liking the potential versatility that this team is building.

  • jemblue

    Awesome! Next year’s going to be a lot of fun. Welcome to the Michigan family, Moritz!

  • jake

    I was really hoping to land Brown, hope this guy makes the transition to college ball…he needs to play the 4, anything other than that I don’t think will work. Not nearly physical enough to play the 5, too slow to play the 3. Honestly Doyle is in my opinion our only center, I’m not sold that this was a good pickup. Much rather would have liked to see a point guard or a true 5. Whatever, I guess I will trust Belein.

    • Wayman Britt

      Jake – UM can still get Jaylen Brown and Beilein has targeted the class of 2016 to get a PG (Winston and Goodin).

    • psickert1

      We do have a true 5 players who happens to be 7ft…

    • psickert1

      I am now convinced that no matter who we sign someone would have a negative opinion, especially people who only post to say negative things.

      Whatever happen to welcoming a kid that has committed to our program?

      Coach Beilien flew to Germany to recruit this kid. He is talent. He would be a 4* or 5* if he played on the US. What kills me is that a couple weeks ago everyone wanted this kid but since Brown has visited people want the coaches to overlook a great prospect for a long shot.

      I am glad that you aren’t a coach because tour evaluation skills are subpar. NBA scouts are evaluating this kid and look at his list of suiters.

  • ChaseGoBlue

    Does Caris have to leave in order for us to get Jaylen? All the scholarships are taken right?

  • Mattski

    Intrigued by this get, and by the prospect of having a German player–should make things fun. And wish to heck we knew how things were likely to look by the end of the month.

  • Bluerev

    Watched most of film, coupled with comments I see Wagner as an excellent Belein four down the road, and due to the returnig options we have I would love to see him redshirt. Then a year into the system and added strength he gets bench minutes and finally a potentially great player as an upperclassmen. I am very glad he’s a wolverine!

    • Justin

      As talented of a player as he is, having NBA scouts talk about him, do you really want him to redshirt when you have no true stud at the 4 position? That doesn’t seem logical but if he is that far behind etc. than obviously he will.

      I just don’t see it.

      • Indiana_Matt

        He looks skinny. And he’s young. Like the talk about his competitive spirit, though. I could see either way. I trust the staff will do the right thing.

        • Justin

          You can be skinny and play basketball at a high level….Kevin Durant anyone??? Man couldn’t even do one rep of 185 at the combine but yet MVP years later. Our own Jamal Crawford was thin and did just fine his 20 or so games at UM plus has had a very productive and long NBA career.

          I’m not buying this at all…Sure he will be a better player once he is stronger with the ability to finish at the rim. Early on just going to be a shooter and won’t be able to finish through contact. Yet if Donnal can see the floor on Michigan’s roster, Wagner will be just fine. I’m interested to see how he fits in…

          After not be able to close the deal on Robin Benzing and Angus Brandt…It’s great to see us get a foreign-born player into our program.

          • Indiana_Matt

            True. I hope he is a Durant/Crawford type.

      • Bluerev

        I should hv made comments assuming Caris returns.

        And I shouldn’t say I want him to RS, as I would rather see him average 20 and 10 as a freshman, but I’m guessing he needs a year to trans to usa ball/um system, gain weight.
        I love his moves and dunks off the dribble, as well as passing and outside shooting. Tho tall is he already a strong rebounder or shot blocker?

        Chatman was top 30 recruit too, but could hv used a year behind GR3 and even lost more minutes if Horford had returned. Wasn’t ready tho expect good things still in time.

        Wagner has to get past Chatmans potential, Dawkins shooting, Irvin’s all around game, Wilsons versatility to get playing time. I hope he can, but I don’t know if he is more of a potential 4 stud NEXT YEAR than those guys returning. I hope I’m wrong and he is the missing link.
        .

    • Mattski

      Does a player leave a Euro development league to come and sit on the bench here? I have my doubts. Plus, Beilein has been pretty resistant to redshirting players when he thought they could contribute at all.

      I’m baffled by the people in the forum who see little in him. I would also love to see Dylan parse his shooting percentages a little.

  • Justin

    Jaylen Brown is a game-changing player even if we only have him for 1-2 years, look at what McGary did for us even though he didn’t play all the time we would’ve never made the NC without him.

    After watching Jaylen Brown highlights the last couple weeks and the Mcd AA game, Jaylen is like a mixture of Andrew Wiggins and Justice Winslow. He would be our first Mcd AA player since Horton (2002), that in and of itself is big. I saw a stat recently saying only two teams since 2002 have won the NC without a single AA player on its roster, Wisconsin will try to make it 3 tomorrow night but essentially you need one to win NC.

    Finally I’ll say I’m a little tired of hearing our fans say we cant get top 15 players. I think a lot of this comes down to luck and persistence! We can get these guys and we should strive to get a few, 1 a year or every other year would be perfect. Case in point, if UK wins the NC this year, they likely lose 6-7 players to NBA instead they will probably lose 3-4 with the loss. That right there helps with Brown with Lyles and Poythress likely to be on the roster next year tying up minutes at the 3 spot.

    Jaylen Brown will be a great player wherever he goes, impact the team from day one, but I hope he wants to make this impact in Ann Arbor and get us back to the Final Four! Can’t go wrong with Kansas or Michigan for him.

    • Indiana_Matt

      I believe Dekker was a McDs AA.

      • Justin

        he was a 5-star by some but not a McDs AA…Brian Butch is their only McDs AA under Bo Ryan. Interestingly enough, they redshirted Butch in his first year if you guys remember.

        • Indiana_Matt

          Wow. I just remember how much hype Dekker had coming in and thought he was.

    • bobohle

      Good point. Myself,Wayman and Corperrayle have been talking this up also for weeks.

  • psickert1

    I am so Happy that we are finally having some depth at key positions. You can never have to many options and last year showed that. THIS is a hugh get for us because this kid would be a 4* and maybe even a 5* star had he played in the states.

    He played pro for one of the top pro teams.

    People complain that he is too skinny but so is T.j Leaf, well at least he was.I al so Happy to have some depth ,some height and hopefully better post play.

    • 93Grad

      He barely played for one of the top pro teams in Europe. His stats are mostly from the junior team.

      • DaWholeTruth

        Um Alba has a junior AND a senior team, given his age I can see why he played for the junior team,

      • psickert1

        Just think about what you said… this kid is 17 years old. I guess you always. Have to find a reason to knock a recruit. Don’t worry it’s the norm. The German league want this kid to go pro and play for them…wouldn’t other be simple to admit that the kid has talent ? DO YOU THINK THAT you will be good enpugj to play in a German pro league?

  • Kenny

    Dylan, has Wagner cleared NCAA?

    I still remember Benzing not getting the clearance.

  • gobluemd16

    Could the court in the first highlight tape have more lines on it?? Haha, anyways this is a great pickup for the team, especially if he is regarded as a possible top 20-40 recruit by NBA scouts. Should provide even more versatility to an already adaptable team.

  • Felix

    see a little bit of dirk’s game…good pick up. as for brown, it’s hard to see him committing if caris stays (which is great), this cuts into his playing time at the 3 with zak as well. but we can hope he sees it differently. interesting to see how dj wilson will play, didn’t see much of his game last year.

  • ChaseGoBlue

    Does he speak English ?

    • DaWholeTruth

      Of course he speaks English, this isn’t a kid from the Dominican.

      • ChaseGoBlue

        He plays in Germany so what you said doesn’t really make any sense.

        • RikWaero

          Yes it does. Have you been to Germany? They speak English.

          • ChaseGoBlue

            No but not everyone speaks English I was just asking a simple question.

  • Joe

    Jaylen Brown is “dedicated” to an Addidas school. per this ESPN report. If true, that means UMich is one of 3 on his top 8 (Kansas & UCLA). Check out the video “Brown has several suitors” The ESPN folks predicts Kansas though.

    http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/index?topId=12644769