ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Coming off the bench is never easy. But only five players can start, and like most freshman in college basketball, Moritz Wagner is finding his role on the court this season as a spark off Michigan’s bench.
“It’s something you get used to though,” said Wagner, who is averaging 3.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 10.1 minutes played in 17 game this season.
While his minutes have been low, Wagner says U-M coach John Beilein has asked him to be a rebounder and defender this season, a role he willingly accepts.
“I know what coaches say, get rebounds and play defense is a crucial thing,” Wagner said. “That’s what I am trying to work on. And at the end of the day, it’s the coaches’ decision. I’m just going out there to have my fun. If it’s on the bench or on the court, I am just trying to help my team as much as I can.”
Adding: “That’s my motto, and I will keep going with that.”
At 6-foot-10, 225-pounds, Wagner has been a work in progress this season. And he knows he needs to keep developing his game both offensively and defensively, although, he says he made the biggest strides on the defensive end in year one.
“As a player it’s hard, you live in your own body, so it’s hard to reflect and say I was better than two weeks ago,” Wagner said. “I think especially defensively, I’m making strides. And offensive rebounding is a big topic. I’m going to continue working on it. And, we’ll see.”
Michigan (13-5, 3-2 Big Ten) plays host to Minnesota (6-12, 0-6) at 8:30 p.m on Wednesday.