ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It took him a little while to get warmed up, but German forward Moritz Wagner took a golden opportunity against Charlotte in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament last week and ran with it.
Wagner exploded for 19 points in Michigan's runaway victory over the 49ers. The next day, Wagner finished with only seven points en route to another Wolverines victory over Texas.
The tournament was an eye-opener for Wagner. Not from a style of play perspective, but the sheer size of centers he has had to match up against. Take Longhorns center Cameron Ridley for example, someone who weighs a wopping 285 pounds compared to Wagner's 225 soaking wet. Despite the size differential, Wagner is aware of what playing the big man position at U-M has to offer.
Besides, there's plenty more where that came from.
"Of course, it's a hard competition out there especially physcially," Wagner said. "We play against hard centers, he was 285 I think. Tomorrow we play against against another 285 pound center again. It'll be a long, physical season that's for sure."
Heading to the Bahamas for a business trip was also something new for Wagner. The sights and sounds were entering a new world, just like he did when he ended up in Ann Arbor for the first time. Wagner raved about the atmosphere he saw during the entire tournament.
"That was really exciting I have never seen that before," Wagner said. "It was like luxury, you know what I mean? Like premium play. It was awesome, the atmosphere was good anyways."
Despite the 19 point explosion last week, there's also a glaring omission from his final statsheet. A rebound of any kind. That's something Wagner is aware of, who also took some ribbing afterwards, and will work with Beilein and the coaching staff to correct going forward.
"I heard a couple of jokes about that in the lockerroom," Wagner said. "I kind of don't try and take it personally, I'm that guy that doesn't take it personally and try to rebound after that. I said after the game that is obviously something I have to improve a lot defensive and rebounding-wise. I'm just going to try and keep working on it, I know that this is the thing coach wants me to do and the offensive stuff comes along by itself. So those are the things I am focusing on."