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No. 1 recruit DJ Wagner Commits to Kentucky Over Louisville

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DJ Wagner, the No. 1-ranked high school player in the class of 2023, has committed to John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. Wagner chose Kentucky over rival Louisville. He has officially signed his letter of intent as well. 

After his commitment to Kentucky, the Wildcats now have the clear No. 1 recruiting class in the country for the class of 2023. Wagner is the third No. 1 recruit in the 247Sports Composite rankings to commit to Kentucky during John Calipari’s reign, joining Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel. 

Wagner made his announcement on Monday after many days keeping Wildcat and Cardinal fans alike on edge. It has been a very long journey to finally get to Wagner’s commitment, but it is certainly worth it for Calipari and Wildcat fans. 

Calipari has known Wagner since before Wagner can remember. His dad, Dajuan Wagner Sr., was a highly touted recruit and was recruited and coached by Calipari at Memphis coming out of high school. Calipari and Dajuan have always had a close bond since, and that bond transferred to DJ when he was a kid. 

The case for Louisville however, goes back before Dajuan. Dajuan’s dad, Milt Wagner, played for Louisville in the mid-1980’s and played on the 1986 national championship team. Current Cardinals head coach, Kenny Payne, was on that team with Milt and they became very close during their time at Louisville. When Payne was hired in March, many thought he would hire Milt on staff to some capacity to try and win Wagner’s recruitment, similar to what Calipari did at Memphis to land Dajuan. Payne hired Milt in May, and while it swayed the minds of many recruiting analysts, now we know it never mattered. 

All three Wagners spent their high school careers playing at Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey, so it has been a family legacy to wear that jersey. However, once Wagner’s time in college is over, they will have all went to different universities. 

Wagner has been considered one of the clear best players in his class since he started high school. This past summer during the circuit, he averaged 20.3 points and 5.2 assists playing for the New Jersey Scholars. Last season, he averaged 19.8 points per game and led Camden to a New Jersey state championship. 

One of Wagner’s teammates at Camden and NJ Scholars is Aaron Bradshaw, who is another member of this No. 1 class. Bradshaw is ranked No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite. The two are joined by No. 2 ranked Justin Edwards, No. 9 ranked Robert Dillingham, and No. 29 ranked Reed Sheppard. Sheppard is the son of former Kentucky star, and two-time champion, Jeff Sheppard. Dating back to the 2011 class, when 247Sports started doing team rankings, this is Calipari’s sixth No. 1 recruiting class in his time at Kentucky. 

Stay tuned for more college basketball news, among other sports and esports news!

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