Detroit News writers Bob Wojnowski, Matt Charboneau and James Hawkins break down the national championship game.
San Antonio – For the second consecutive offseason, Moritz Wagner will have a decision to make about his future.
But following Michigan’s 79-62 loss to Villanova in the national title game Monday night at the Alamodome, Wagner declined to say whether he has given any thought to returning for his senior season or heading to the NBA.
“I think this night has nothing to do with next year. This has to do with Duncan Robinson, Muhammad (-Ali Abdur-Rakhman) and Jaaron (Simmons),” Wagner said of the team’s seniors. “Their career is over.”
Wagner, a 6-foot-11 center, is an NBA Draft early entrant candidate after leading the Wolverines with 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season as a junior. He shot 52.8 percent from the field and a team-best 39.4 percent from 3-point range over 39 games.
After a rough start to the NCAA Tournament, Wagner turned in a pair of dominant performances with a 21-point outing against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 and a 24-point, 15-rebound effort in the national semifinals against Loyola-Chicago.
He finished with 16 points with 6-for-11 shooting and seven rebounds against Villanova, and was the lone Wolverine named to the Final Four all-tournament team.
Wagner declared for the NBA Draft without an agent last season. He was invited to the NBA combine and gained valuable feedback through the evaluation process before announcing his return at the withdrawal deadline.
Redshirt sophomore Charles Matthews, another NBA prospect, could also test the draft waters. He finished the year as Michigan’s second-leading scorer (13 points) and rebounder (5.5) after sitting out last season following his transfer from Kentucky.
Matthews, a 6-6 wing, elevated his game and played some of his best basketball in the NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds and shot 50.7 percent from the field. But like Wagner, Matthews gave no definitive answer about what’s next for him.
“I have to discuss that with my coaching staff and my parents,” he said.
As underclassmen, Wagner and Matthews have until April 22 to declare for the draft.
If they don’t hire an agent, they’ll have until 10 days after the NBA Combine, which will take place May 16-20 in Chicago, to remove their names from draft consideration and maintain their college eligibility.
Neither Wagner or Matthews is considered a consensus first-round pick. Wagner has been projected as a mid-to-late second-round pick and ESPN had him going at No. 49 overall in its latest mock draft, while Matthews is projected to be an early second-round pick in the 2019 draft by NBAdraft.net.