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Orlando Magic first-round draft pick Franz Wagner said he wasn’t expecting much emotion when it came to his first NBA preseason game. Once he got to the TD Garden on Monday morning, that all changed.
“I was kind of surprised how excited I was when I walked into the arena,” Wagner said. “It’s been a while for me that I’ve actually been in an NBA arena and to get to play now I’m super excited for that.”
Wagner, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward, was the No. 8 selection in this summer’s NBA Draft. The former Michigan star joined his brother on the Magic roster and head coach Jamahl Mosley said it helps Franz having his older brother Moritz, also a Michigan alum, on the same team. Mo Wagner is going into his fourth season and he has played on four teams.
“I really think it’s a good thing for [Franz] to kind of get some experiences first-hand ... the things that Mo has experienced and can talk to Franz about,” Mosley said.
Franz Wagner, who finished with 3 points in 20 minutes on Monday, said he’s had plenty of help with his transition to the NBA.
“Not just Mo, but the whole organization, everybody on the staff, all the players have been super helpful for me,” Franz said. “They’re been a great resource to ask questions and get to know them a little bit more as we go and I get to know more of the NBA game and lifestyle too.”
Mosley said it’s interesting being around the two Wagner brothers, who are originally from Germany.
“It’s been fun. They are such great characters and they’re entirely different, which is great,” Mosley said. “Mo is so energetic and exciting and going and loud and constantly talking, which is beautiful. Franz is more contemplative, and looking at things, studying things a little bit.
“They push each other in such different ways that it’s fun to see a sort of brotherly banter, but also teammate banter, which is good.”
Franz Wagner was a little slow in picking up the speed of the game and other things during the Magic’s week in Las Vegas at summer league, but Mosley has progressed since that initial introduction.
“He’s gotten a lot more comfortable with what we’re doing. Things tend to move at a faster pace ... but he’s got a high basketball IQ, so he’s catching on quickly as we’ve moved through the camp,” Mosley said.
At Michigan, Franz Wagner averaged 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He left the Wolverines early to enter the NBA Draft. His length and ability to play defense was what intrigued NBA scouts, and the Magic will bring him along slowly as he tries to fit into his role.
He played just two seasons at Michigan and last year was named second-team All-Big Ten. He started 55 consecutive games for the Wolverines.