Wagner said: " 'Testing the waters,' you know how everyone says that? I don't like that analogy at all because it implies you're not serious and you're just dipping your toe in. I went into the NBA Combine competing and knowing I could play on that level and I still do.
"But I didn't want this to be an either-or situation. I wanted this to be safe."
Wagner added, "And it was just too risky this year. The draft is very deep and the top 20 picks are almost set. You could only play yourself up to a certain stock."
What feedback did he receive from the NBA?
"I could've gone undrafted," said Wagner, "which I don't believe. There was definitely enough interest that I would've been drafted. I could've gone early second round or I could've gone between 20 and 30 (overall). But I wasn't in the top 20 for sure. So, it was very, very risky."
Wagner said he'd have been disappointed had he dropped to the second round.
"The second round doesn't guarantee you anything," he said. "I'd rather play another two years here at the University of Michigan, take another step toward my bachelor degree and have a good time here.
"I would've hated myself if I'd found myself in the D (NBA Development) League next year. I would rather play in college."
So, Wagner isn't looking at leaving after his junior year as a certainty?
"I think that would be a mistake to do," he said.
Wagner averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds last season, and wants more for himself and his team.
"The mission is to lead this team and to win," said Wagner, who emphasized that last word to underscore his conviction. "I want to win the Big Ten again. Winning the Big Ten Tournament whetted my appetite; I wanted more. It's a little early to talk about a national championship, but we go into every game with the mentality of being able to win it. We have so many players who can step up this year, and I want to step up my game and be more consistent and lead by example the way (captains) Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin did for me.
"You've got to shoot for the moon if you want to be successful."