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DJ Wagner Remains ‘Open to All Schools’ Despite Speculation

Wagner shut down rumors surrounding his recruitment and said he stays in constant contact with Louisville, Kentucky, Auburn, Arkansas and other schools.
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DJ Wagner is fully aware of the perceptions surrounding his recruitment.

From the two-horse race story line to the done deal theories, Wagner has come across nearly every scenario surrounding the speculation of where he’ll ultimately end up after high school.

“Some of the stuff is pretty wild,” Wagner says. “But I don’t really pay attention to it.”

Much like he does when he’s determined to get a basket in a game, Wagner is mentally locking in to making sure his recruitment experience remains underwhelming and fun.

“I’m not tired of the process or anything like that,” Wagner says. “I know a lot of guys say that, but I’m really enjoying it, to be honest.”

Wagner is widely regarded as the top player in the 2023 class.

SI’s SI99 basketball rankings don’t drop until later in the year, but Wagner’s consistent dominance has him in strong contention for the top spot.

This past season at Camden (N.J.), the 6'3" point guard averaged 19.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.1 steals a game. Currently he’s pumping in 20.3 points, 5.2 assists and 1.8 steals a game for the NJ Scholars in the grueling Nike EYBL.

Wagner has yet to cut his inordinate list of college suitors down to a more workable number and said while he’s “open to all schools at this point,” he remains in constant contact with Louisville, Kentucky, Auburn, Arkansas and other schools.

Wagner has already taken two official visits, one to Memphis and one to Kentucky. He’s also taken two unofficial visits, one to Temple and one to Villanova. He didn’t visit Louisville when the city hosted an EYBL session he and his team competed in last month.

“I’m gonna take more visits, but I’m not sure where to just yet,” Wagner says.

DJ Wagner

Wagner has already taken four visits and plans to take more after the summer circuit season.

That said, the smart money is on Louisville to be in the travel plans soon.

In late May, the Cardinals hired his grandfather Milt Wagner, a former Cardinals star, as the program’s director of player development and alumni relations. It certainly doesn’t hurt Kentucky’s chances that Wagner’s father, Dajuan Wagner, starred at Memphis for John Calipari in 2002. When asked whether he was aware of the social media rumblings that his grandfather’s new gig automatically made his commitment to the Cards a foregone conclusion, DJ laughed.

“We don’t even talk about that kind of stuff,” Wagner says. “Never. That’s just my grandpop; we talk like grandson and grandpop. I don’t know where I’m going or anything like that. The only thing my grandpop has ever told me is to just enjoy the process and not to rush anything. That’s all I focus on.”

Milt’s new job certainly hasn’t halted the full-court recruiting press from other schools, according to Wagner.

“I haven’t noticed anyone backing off at all,” Wagner says. “No school has ever even asked me about that situation, and I talk to coaches every day.”

For now, Wagner’s “full focus” is on bringing home the gold medal with USA Basketball’s U-17 national team. Wagner is one of 12 players who will compete in the FIBA U-17 World Cup in Malaga, Spain, from July 2 to 10.

“I really want this gold medal badly,” Wagner says. “I’m putting everything into that. It’s easier because I don’t feel pressure with my recruitment. I’m gonna take as much time as I need. I don’t know a certain date or anything like that. I’m not trying to rush anything. This is very important, and I want to make the right decision.”

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