DJ Wagner, the top prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the class of 2023, is getting plenty of attention on the recruiting trail. With so many programs trying to sign Wagner, 247Sports Director of Scouting Adam Finkelstein says Louisville has the upper hand.
A native of Camden, NJ, Wagner has been a top target of John Calipari and Kentucky for a while now, but some coaching changes at Louisville might give the Cardinals an advantage. New Louisville head coach Kenny Payne has an established relationship with Wagner’s family and may even hire his grandfather to the coaching staff. That connection is what led Finkelstein to submit a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Louisville on Wagner’s profile.
“My expectation at this point, based on what I’m hearing, is that Milt Wagner join Payne’s staff at Louisville and his grandson follows him there at some point,” Finkelstein writes. “It’s far from a sure thing, but enough that I’m making my first Crystal Ball selection in favor of the Cardinals.”
Wagner did tell 247Sports’ Travis Branham that he doesn’t really know Payne on a personal level, only that he is a very well-respected coach.
“Not really, not too much, not a lot but he is definitely a great coach,” Wagner said of what he knows of Kenny Payne. “I know that he was a great coach at Kentucky and I know that he will do a great job but I don’t have a super personal connection.”
As things stand currently, Wagner’s Crystal Ball sits at 50% in favor of Kentucky and 50% in favor of Louisville. The Cardinals have come on strong lately, but the Wildcats won’t just roll over on the most coveted recruit in the 2023 class.
Wagner is a five-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the 2023 signing class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite rankings. In his scouting report on Wagner, 247Sports National Basketball Director Eric Bosi projects him as a future first-round pick in the NBA Draft.
Get the fastest scores, stats, news, LIVE videos, and more. CLICK HERE to download the CBS Sports Mobile App and get the latest on your team today.
“Wagner began his career as the top ranked player in the class of 2023 and comes from a family with strong basketball bloodlines,” Bossi writes in his evaluation of Wagner. “At his core, he’s a combination guard who specializes in filling it up. Though not an overwhelming athlete, Wagner is very skilled and quite clever in his scoring. He gets to the rim, has an array of floaters, pull-up jumpers and can fire away from deep.”