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Michigan basketball lands elite German forward Franz Wagner, brother of Moe Wagner

Franz Wagner chooses Michigan over German professional team Alba Berlin

Michigan basketball announces the signing of Franz Wagner (Photo: Michigan Men's Basketball Twitter/@umichbball)
Michigan basketball announces the signing of Franz Wagner (Photo: Michigan Men's Basketball Twitter/@umichbball)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – New Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard got his first major recruiting victory over the weekend, landing a commitment from German forward Franz Wagner, brother of former Wolverines star Moe Wagner.

While he isn't officially ranked on recruiting services due to playing overseas, experts say the younger Wagner would be a high four-star player, likely among the top 50 in the 2019 class.

"I am extremely excited about this opportunity," Wagner said, via MGoBlue.com. "I cannot wait to get on campus and meet everybody."

Franz Wagner is listed at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, so while he has good size, he's a much different player than his brother. He played against excellent competition last year in Germany's best professional league, shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc.

That's exactly what Michigan needs after starters Jordan Poole, Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews left for the NBA draft.

"We are extremely excited to announce Franz has committed to join the University of the Michigan in the fall," Howard said, via MGoBlue.com. "Franz gives us another talented guard with size who possesses a wonderful basketball IQ and a growing skillset that could be impactful for us right away."

Howard's incoming class now contains two four-star level players, including Cole Bajema, who committed to John Beilein and stuck with the Wolverines through the coaching change.

Michigan only has two starters returning in Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske. Isaiah Livers has a chance to get back into the starting five, and Beilein's elite 2018 recruiting class could make some noise their sophomore year.

David DeJulius, Brandon Johns and Colin Castleton all saw meaningful minutes as true freshmen, and Adrien Nunez got his feet wet as well. Wagner will join those four in a battle for two remaining starting spots.

Whether he begins the season as a starter or not, Wagner will likely be one of the team's top scoring options by the end of the season. His combination of size and shooting makes him almost a surefire contributor in 2019-20, especially since he's already used to shooting from the international 3-point distance, which the college game is moving to this season.

Howard is hoping to get Michigan back to the NCAA Tournament for a fifth straight year. The Wolverines have made the NCAA Tournament eight times in the last nine years, with an injury-plagued 2014-15 being the exception.

Michigan made two national championship games, three Elite Eights and five Sweet 16s in that span.

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