Shep's Take: Be Smart-Think Long Term

Most every college basketball players shares the same dream: To play in the NBA. 

Not all are realistic and will get there, but they all have a moment where they picture them playing on the NBA stage.

That belief is real for a pair of Michigan underclassmen: Sophomore Moritz Wagner and redshirt-sophomore DJ Wilson.

Both performed at a high level at different times during the season and showcased their skill set in the NCAA tournament.

Their respective games are attractive to NBA scouts and I think both will be good professional players, but that doesn't mean they should leave Ann Arbor now.

Some of the latest NBA mock drafts (yes there mock drafts other than the NFL) have either or both Wilson and Wagner as first rounders.

Nice compliment, but not yet worthy.

Here's what happens too often: National writers see a player in a tournament or in a big game and start probing NBA scouts about how they may fit in the league and the speculation begins.

Local writers then pick up on that speculation and give it more attention because columns must be filled.

So one website has Wagner going 25th to Utah because scouts were "impressed down the stretch, especially against Louisville" when he scored a career high 26. 

Hmmmm....what about the six point performance against Oklahoma State and the seven against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament title game? Or his 5-points and NO field goals against Purdue in Washington D.C.? 

I like Wagner.

He has great energy and passion and his ability will translate to the NBA, but not yet. 

He needs another year under John Beilein and his staff to hone his deficiencies that will make him even more valuable next Spring.

Wilson is just as talented.

He collected just 24 rebounds in 2016, yet this year he led the team in rebounding.

He made incredible strides, averaging 11 points and just over five boards a game, but think about that for a minute. 

11 points and 5 rebounds a night.....and he's a first rounder?

Wilson was very good against Oklahoma State and Wisconsin and Louisville late, but he also had no-show games against Minnesota, Northwestern and the Badgers during the regular season. He struggled mightily against SMU and South Carolina earlier in the year and yet Sports Illustrated has him as a late first rounder?

Come on.

When did we become so impatient in sports? In life?

Both these guys have a chance to help Michigan make a strong run next year, but more importantly for themselves, they have a greater chance at becoming better all-around basketball players.

If they were lottery picks, I could understand, but neither are and actually are borderline first rounders, so wait a year, get better, and then reap the rewards.

The NBA isn't going any where.

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