Posted On: 11/7/18 3:25 PM

As a freshman with Iowa City Regina, Nick Wagner was able to get his foot in the door with the Regals varsity.

One of just two freshman who played varsity last season, Wagner set the foundation for what could be a special career.

He’ll have to wait a bit, though, before he takes the court for his sophomore season.

This summer, while playing with the Iowa Barnstormers 15U, Wagner tore his ACL. Just after, on July 30th, he had surgery.

The injury caused Wagner to miss his sophomore season of football. And he says he’ll miss a large portion of his sophomore basketball season as well.

“I’m working hard at rehabbing, and it’s a long, slow process,” Wagner said. “But I’m looking forward to hopefully playing a little bit of the basketball season towards the end of the year.”

When he is able to return, the 6-foot-5 center will showcase his tough brand of hoops. Being physical and gritty in the paint is something Wagner relishes.

“One of my strengths is rebounding, and with (former Iowa and Regina football player) Alex Kannelis as my D-line coach, he’s actually kind of taught me hand-moves and pass-rush moves that I actually incorporate a lot with basketball,” said Wagner.

“And within the 8-foot and in range I’m pretty strong, especially at finishing through contact.”

Prior to his injury, Wagner was working out three times a week Regina hoops coach coach (Jared) Galpin. He focused on skill-work, like ball-handling and jump-shots, shooting off the dribble and off the catch.

With the departure of 6-foot-9 big-man Even Brauns to Iowa City West, there will be a void that needs to be filled in the paint for the Regals this season. And when Wagner returns to the court, he looks forward to filling that void.

“(Even) was a good rim protector last year and people were reluctant on driving to the paint when he was in there. I feel like my role this year will be to pick up where he left off, and try and incorporate more scoring,” said Wagner.

As for the football versus basketball debate, Wagner, who excels at both, says that’s something he can figure out next summer.

Right now, he says it’s football he’d like to pursue, but also admits that he’s just saying that because football season recently ended.

“I know at the end of basketball season, I know I’m going to say the sport I want to pursue is basketball,” said Wagner. “Probably, this next summer is when I’ll define which sport is the most important to me.”

Nick Wagner is ranked by Prep Hoops as a top 50 prospect in his class. To see the full ranking of Iowa’s 2021 class, click here.