“He’s proved he can play the game at that level,” Hughes said. “Everyone understands that he needs to be our leader on the floor. When I say that I’m not necessarily referring to a vocal leader. I’m referring to a kid that needs to go out there and get things done for us.”
With the confidence of Hughes, a coach in his 21st year at Barr-Reeve with a record of 335-138, Wagler is looking forward to the challenge.
“Personally I don’t mind the pressure,” Wagler said. “I enjoy being the go-to-guy.”
Last season, Wagler primarily played in the post, shooting the ball at the nearly 60 percent clip. This season, he feels he has extended his range outside of the paint. That will stretch opposing defenses, and open up more opportunities for his teammates. Hughes said the biggest thing that Wagler brings to the Vikings is his impressive toughness and strength.
“He’s just a very tall, physical player, who at times can step out and make some finesse moves that you wonder where that came from, because of the strength that he plays the game with,” Hughes said.
Leaders are looked at in all different roles, from someone who leads by example by scoring the most points to a vocal leader in the locker room. Wagler sees all of those factors as things that make a strong leader.
“Leading is controlling your team,” Wagler said. “Making sure everything is going smoothly, and being vocal and keeping things under control.”