The Kentucky Wildcats are 2-0 and are facing a huge test against the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic in Chicago. A key player for the Cats in that game will be none other than DJ Wagner.
The five-star freshman is the type of guard that John Calipari has thrived with during his time in Lexington. To this point, Wagner is continuing that trend.
Through the first two games, the 6-foot-4, 192-pounder is averaging 12 points per game on 42% shooting while adding 3.5 assists and one rebound per contest. He’s also bought into becoming a lock-down defender and already has four steals on the young season.
According to Calipari, it is Wagner’s bulldog mentality that separates him as the lead guard in this group.
In his press conference Monday to preview Kansas, Coach Cal was asked about his freshman guard and had this to say.
“DJ is unbelievable. You would think he is a senior the way he talks and runs the team. Whatever you tell him, he is going to do. Don’t have to tell him two or three times.”
That is some high praise to give a young player this early in the season.
Wagner and this Kentucky team will be facing the ultimate test Tuesday night as the young Cats look to make some noise vs. Kansas and shake up the rankings.
If Kentucky does pull off the upset, Wagner’s fingerprints will almost certainly be all over the game on both sides of the floor.
I don't know about you all, but this team just feels different than what we have seen over the last few years. Quotes like this from Coach Cal just give some more confidence to that feeling overall.