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  • Writer's pictureBig Tim

Kentucky Incoming Freshman Series: Dajuan (DJ) Wagner Jr!!

The first in a six part series on incoming freshman to Kentucky Wildcats basketball. It's a little different because we saw them play in GLOBL Challenge in Toronto, Canada. Introducing: Dajuan (DJ) Wagner Jr.

Dajuan (DJ) Wagner Jr, 6'3" 180 pounds, Camden, NJ High School (You Got The High). McDonald's All-American (first three generation player in game), McDonald's All-American Game MVP, Iverson Classic All-American, Nike Hoop Summit. New Jersey Player of The Year three times.

Consensus Top 5 player in Class of 2023. I'll break down his strengths and weaknesses. He has highlights on Youtube and will use some from GLOBL Challenge.

STRENGTHS: Professional scorer. An absolute bucket. Attacks off the dribble in the half court from the point guard or the wing spot. Is also good getting downhill in transition. Has a nice low strong dribble off the bounce. Has a crossover dribble, nice spin move to get past defenders. Fundamentally sound basketball player. Gets into the paint whenever he wants and play under control when he gets there. Has nice body control to jump around defenders, using a Euro step to get around defenders, and has a nice up and under move to get his shot off. Nice floater in the paint to get shot off over taller defenders. Good at drawing fouls. Can take defender off the dribble going either right or left. Good hesitation moves to free himself from defender for a shot. Plays through contact when he gets into the paint area, scores layups with each hand. Great range on his three point shot as he can pull up from 25 feet and hit them. Hits threes off the catch or off the bounce. Has good shooting mechanics on his release shooting jump shots. Good on the ball defender as he keeps his man in front of him moving his feet to get position. Is in great shape as he's continuously on the go and attacking the defense. Makes good decisions probing the defense and decides how he's going to attack the defense to get a bucket. Has the vision to find three point shooters and makes good rim run passes when he gets in the paint.

WEAKNESSES: Can get tunnel vision when he attacks the basket by missing open shooters. Three point shot is streaky as he can go hot and cold. Loses his man playing off the ball, can get caught ball watching. Takes pictures sometimes by not attacking the defensive boards. Gets shot happy being so aggressive looking for his offense, this is when his attacking mode can hurt him. His confidence in thinking he can score at anytime gets him in trouble sometimes, and results in turnovers. Needs to get better shot selection which will raise his field goal and three point percentages. Average athlete which causes him to have to use extra dribbles to get his shot off. Needs to up his free throw percentage as he draws a lot of fouls and needs to make other teams pay. Sometimes will take bad shots in traffic in the paint over multiple defenders. Needs to learn to play off the ball and move to his shooting spots.

CONCLUSION: Kentucky fans should be excited about his scoring ability. Passing ability has to get a little better. Weaknesses are fixable for the most part and seems to have improved his pace of play. That was shown at the GLOBL Challenge in Toronto, Canada. With more work and reps at the college level, could definitely see a national all freshman player. Will be a one and done as he has enough talent and scoring ability to be a Lottery pick. Slight build has not hurt his career to this point, but college weight room will make him a better finisher at the rim. Can play on and off the ball though he played a lot with the ball in his hands in Canada. More reps shooting the outside shot and better shot selection will improve his percentages. Plays hard all the time which is always a good starting point. Not a selfish player, but needs to improve his vision to get teammates the ball. Potential to be a big time two way player at both guard positions. Will be an exciting player to watch. Third generation NBA player uploading.

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