Michigan sophomore forward Franz Wagner declared for the 2021 NBA Draft on Tuesday. In a letter published on The Players' Tribune, Wagner did not announce whether he was signing with an agent but strongly hinted that the decision would likely end his college career as he launches forward in pursuit of a future in the NBA.
"I know I only was around for two seasons, but I still hope you all will consider me a part of that legacy," he wrote, referencing Michigan clinching a No. 1 seed and winning the Big Ten in his second season.
"It's time for me to say goodbye to Ann Arbor, and to take on this whole new challenge in the NBA," he added.
Wagner blazed a unique path to this point of his career. He turned pro in 2017 with Alba Berlin of the BBL and also played for SSV Lokomotive Bernau before signing with Michigan in 2019 as a four-star prospect. He blossomed in Ann Arbor as a two-way force, growing to 6-foot-9 and showcasing defensive versatility and shot-making that has him as a likely first-round pick later this summer. He ranks No. 14 on the CBS Sports Big Board and was No. 15 in my latest mock draft last month.
"I know the current NBA is all about versatility, guys who can show guard-like skills while having forward-like size," Wagner wrote in his story. "And I definitely think I'm developing that type of game."
Michigan clinched a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time as a program since the Fab Five era as Wagner developed into a potential lottery pick, averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while hitting 34.3% from 3-point range. He enters the draft a little over three years after his older brother, Moe Wagner, declared for the draft, where he was later selected 25th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers.