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2023 5-Star DJ Wagner's Recruitment

By Tim Jones, 09/22/22, 10:30AM CDT


DJ Wagner is a five-star combo guard out of Camden, NJ. Wagner is a consensus top-three player in the nation and the highest ranked uncommitted prospect left on the board. Though Wagner has stated that his recruitment is still relatively open at this point, two schools appear to be in the lead: Kentucky and Louisville.

Wagner has clear ties to both programs, which makes it difficult to predict where he will end up. The one thing that does seem certain is that DJ has made it known that he does plan to enroll in college, and will not pursue routes such as G League Ignite or Overtime Elite.

Kentucky ties/fit: DJ’s father, Dajuan Wagner, starred under Coach Calipari at Memphis back in 2002.Calipari has since coached several elite guards that have gone on to star in the NBA such as Derrick Rose (Memphis), John Wall, Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox, and Tyrese Maxey. Kentucky already has one of the top recruiting classes with guys like Justin Edwards, Rob Dillingham, and Reed Sheppard already committed to the program. Adding Wagner to the mix could likely solidify them at the top spot, with potentially three top-ten players in the class. Dillingham and Wagner would make for one of the most exciting backcourts in the nation. Some thought that the commitment of Dillingham meant that Kentucky would be out of the mix for Wagner, but that is not the case. The two could blend really well together because of Dillingham’s playmaking and Wagner’s off-ball capabilities. DJ’s step-brother, Kareem Watkins, is also a current walk-on at Kentucky.

Louisville ties/fit: DJ’s grandfather Milt, played at Louisville in the 1980’s and was recently hired by the school as the director of player development and alumni relations. Current Louisville head coach, Kenny Payne has a close connection to the Wagner family. Payne played at Louisville alongside Wagner’s grandfather where they won a National Championship together in 1986. As far as on the court, Louisville has just one commitment from the 2023 class in forward Kaleb Glenn from La Lumiere. Louisville will clearly need to do some retooling of the roster were they to land Wagner. The biggest difference in Louisville is that Wagner would have the ball in his hands much more and be the focal point of the team’s offense, opposed to sharing the floor with multiple other five-star recruits at Kentucky. Many have considered the commitment to Louisville a ‘done deal’ because of the hiring of his grandfather and the family’s link with Payne. Another factor worth noting is the recruitment of teammate Aaron Bradshaw. Wagner and Bradshaw are teammates both at Camden High and with the NJ Scholars. Both schools are still in the mix for Bradshaw and some believe that the two may be a package deal wherever they decide to go.

Though Kentucky and Louisville remain the two schools in speculation, no one really knows what Wagner will decide. There are still a number of other pursuers. He has been on visits to Memphis, Temple, and Villanova and is still being heavily sought after by schools like Auburn and Arkansas.

Throughout Wagner’s career at the prep level, he has demonstrated that he is one of the best scorers in the nation. He has elite burst off the dribble and shot-making from deep that isn’t particularly common for a kid his age. Whoever lands Wagner is getting a potential program changing talent that has been atop of his class since he made his debut at Camden at 14-years-old.