Michigan's Moritz Wagner listens to a question during a news conference Sunday for the NCAA championship game in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Although Moe Wagner loves Michigan and college basketball, he doesn't think every top young European player should follow in his large footsteps.
Thousands of fans in Germany will stay awake through the night to see the Wolverines center in the NCAA Tournament title game. The Berlin native has dramatically raised the profile of U.S. college basketball in his native country, and he realizes many young German players have been watching him.
But when those players ask him how to follow his path, Wagner doesn't give a blanket endorsement to the college game. He knows too many stories about talented players who picked the wrong school or the wrong coach and set back their development, he said.
"I'm always very careful with that," Wagner said. "There are people that are inspired, encouraged to go to college because it worked out for me, but I always tell them that I was very lucky. That might seem weird, but everything has to fit well. Don't just go to college because the dude from Berlin went to college and it worked out for him. That's not how it goes."
Wagner became enamored with Michigan while watching the Wolverines' loss to Louisville in the 2013 NCAA title game. He has a strong bond with coach John Beilein, who made a one-day trip to Berlin just to get to know him.
With his fluent English and outgoing personality, Wagner knows he makes the transition look easy, but other players likely won't be as fortunate.
"You've got to find the perfect fit for your situation and your individual growth," Wagner said.
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