For the second straight year, multiple Wolverines could be showcasing their skills at the NBA Draft Combine.
Moritz Wagner and Charles Matthews, Michigan’s two leading scorers, have been invited to the annual pre-draft event in Chicago from May 16-20, according to Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo.
While Wagner’s inclusion was expected, Matthews wasn’t a sure thing considering the NBA sends out roughly 60 invitations and he isn’t listed among ESPN’s top 100 draft prospects. Matthews’ name also hasn’t appeared in any 2018 mock drafts, although he’s projected to be a late first-round pick by ESPN and an early second-rounder by NBADraft.net in 2019.
Still, Matthews, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing, is an intriguing prospect because he possesses the type of athleticism NBA teams covet and he shined throughout Michigan’s NCAA Tournament run, where he averaged 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds and shot 50.7 percent from the field in six games.
And despite his dip in Big Ten play, turnover woes (team-high 84) and shooting numbers (31.8 percent on 3-pointers, 55.8 percent on free throws), Matthews could boost his draft stock and make an impression with a strong showing back in his hometown.
Wagner, a 6-11, 245-pound big man, will be returning to the combine for the second year in a row. He’s ranked the No. 29 draft prospect by ESPN and is projected to be an early-to-mid second-round pick by most analysts (No. 44 by NBADraft.net and No. 47 by ESPN).
However, Wagner said two weeks ago he’s unsure whether he’d participate at the combine in full again, which includes five-on-five games, strength and agility drills, interviews and medical testing.
“The combine is a very sensitive topic just because it's important that people play,” said Wagner, who has signed with Roc Nation Sports and Joe Branch, the same agent who represents former Michigan standout Caris LeVert.
“For me it was very important to play just because from a competitive standpoint I wanted to prove where I'm at. This year it's a little different, but there isn't a set decision on anything. We'll see.”
After the combine wraps up, Matthews, who declared without hiring an agent, will have until May 30 to decide whether he wants to keep his name in the June 21 draft or return to Michigan for his third season.