The number one player in the 2023 class is 6-2 guard DJ Wagner. DJ is the grandson of UofL great Milt Wildcats Wagner and the son of Memphis great Dajuan Wagner. His father played for Kentucky head coach John Calipari while he was at Memphis.
I’s rightly assumed that the Cats will be in the final running for the uber-talented guard.
Matt Norlander from CBS Sports penned a profile of the Wagner family and the three generations of basketball greatness. Read the article because it’s fantastic. DJ seems to be a wonderful, humble young man that just happens to be great at basketball.
While DJ has over 40 offers from colleges across the country, he hasn’t narrowed his list just yet, and college is the preferred destination over the G-League or other professional options.
DJ breaks down his thought process of going the college route: “I’m just really happy that any schools wanted to reach out to me. I’m just happy right now. I don’t look at like, dang, all these schools are calling. I’m open to any coach. I’m just grateful for anyone who reaches out. I’ve always been a fan of college basketball and I always have loved college. I’m going to college. I love the competitive nature around the sport, watching March Madness, teams fighting [to win], the fans, how passionate they are about those teams, those kind of things make me love college basketball.”
His AAU program is run by Pervis Ellison who is another Louisville legend. There has been debate about whether or not Chris Mack’s staff has even reached out to DJ about playing at UofL, and it should be a given that the Cards would be involved considering he is the grandson of one of their greats and is coached by another.
Make no mistake about it that there is no debate whether or not John Calipari is involved. Ellison states that he’s been in contact with Orlando Antigua about DJ Wagner. Expect the full court press to be applied as Wagner’s junior year progresses.
While Wagner is the best player in the 2023 class, many Kentucky fans have given their full attention to the Reed Sheppard recruitment. While I’d love to have Sheppard because he is a legacy and his recruitment has been projected to skyrocket during the upcoming season, Wagner is the most important recruit in the class for John Calipari. I completely understand the infatuation with Sheppard but Wagner is the better prospect of the two and his connections to Cal are just as strong and probably stronger.
Cal hired Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman in order to reestablish UK his program the marquee destination for the nation’s best high school talent. Kentucky is looking to hit big in the 2022 class with Skyy Clark, Dereck Lively, Shaedon Sharpe, etc.. and keep that momentum going into 2023 as well.
Getting DJ Wagner on board would be a huge boost to a program that was recently the standard in the recruiting world but has dipped a bit over the last few years.
Watch DJ work!