In today’s day and age, slowing down and letting things come to you isn’t exactly the status quo.
Getting an opportunity and jumping to it as quickly as possible, even if you may not be entirely ready, is something we are told to do because you never know when that chance will come again.
This is reality for D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner.
The starting front court for the Michigan basketball team this past season was built behind the engine of these two forwards that pressed the gas pedal a little harder when March came around.
On Monday afternoon, the two teammates tweeted within ten minutes of each other that they will be entering the 2017 NBA Draft without hiring an agent.
The players who are thinking about declaring for the draft have until April 23 to do so, and can withdraw from it until May 24.
This may come as a surprise to many of the Michigan fans out there, since these players were riding the pine and not starting games in the 2015-16 Wolverine campaign.
After a very successful season, where these two players were a huge part of the teams results on the court, the strides Wilson and Wagner made were gigantic and led Michigan to a Big Ten Tournament title. Not to mention a deep run into the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
However, this shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you. This is what John Beilein does.
John Beilein’s Culture
In 10 years with the Michigan basketball program, Beilein has lost seven underclassmen to the draft: Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Darius Morris and Manny Harris.
Just this past off-season, Beilein had to deal with more changes, losing three players: Kameron Chatman, Aubrey Dawkins and Ricky Doyle due to transferring.
Oh, and not to mention losing two of his assistant coaches, Bacari Alexander and LaVall Jordan.
Early entries, transfer students and the coaching carousel are all generally normal in today’s world of college basketball, and the Wolverines are right in the thick of it.
Michigan may not know until mid-to-late May what the two big men for Michigan want to do, and that’s a thought that can go either way. The new rules in college basketball leave the door open, so why not see and find out what could happen?
Today’s world of NCAA hoops invites this kind of thought, and Beilein instigates it in the postseason.
This isn’t new territory for the Wolverines
Go back and take a look.
Trey Burke returned for his sophomore season, and was the spark plug that got Michigan to the national championship in 2013. Gone. Tim Hardaway who was also big on that team as a junior, gone.
Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson were up next to lead Michigan, and got all the way to the Elite Eight before losing to Kentucky in the closing seconds. Gone.
Those are just a couple of the examples, and the most recent ones similar to what just happened this past March.
Two players that barely got to see any game action a season ago (until March when Wagner’s minutes increased) had solid seasons this year, and played key roles in Michigan’s unexpected run through March.
Now, they find themselves buzzing around the hive of the NBA draft and leaving college early to play pro ball for good.
If they return, Michigan will most likely be one of the top teams in the Big Ten, or possibly the country, and will make another run into March. If they don’t, it will be a season filled with questions and “what ifs” for the possibilities of the 2017-18 squad.
Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin have also graduated, putting Michigan at an even higher risk of a rebuild if Wilson and Wagner take off.
The good news? The top uncommitted senior in high school basketball and projected top-five 2018 NBA draft pick, Mohammad Bamba, is considering Michigan and three other schools (Duke, Kentucky and Texas) for his enrollment. Plus, Beilein and his staff also have their eye on a few great grad-transfers.
So what will it happen in the near future with Wilson and Wagner? Only they know the answer of what feedback they get from the judges at the combine, and whether or not it will be good enough to send them off.
For now, all Beilein and his program can do is wait and slow down — something that isn’t often done much any more in today’s age.