Syracuse Basketball: UK lands 5-star; could it help SU with 5-star target?

Syracuse basketball offered a scholarship to 2023 five-star point guard D.J. Wagner this past August at the team’s annual Elite Camp.

The 6-foot-3 Wagner is presently the consensus No. 1 junior across the country, according to recruiting services. Now, it’s probably safe to assume that the Orange faces a huge challenge in trying to win the recruiting battle for Wagner, who is a star player for the powerhouse Camden High School in Camden, N.J.

But as I always like to say, you can’t land a recruit unless you first offer him, and I credit the ‘Cuse coaching staff for getting into the mix for Wagner.

Beyond the Orange, he holds offers from teams such as Memphis, Kentucky, Villanova and Temple. Wagner’s dad played for Kentucky head coach John Calipari at Memphis, and it’s no surprise that those two squads are deemed by some national analysts as possible front-runners to land the elite 2023 player.

Syracuse basketball has its hands full trying to secure five-star D.J. Wagner.

Just within the last week or so, Kentucky got a verbal commitment from 2023 five-star combo guard Reed Sheppard. The 6-foot-3 Sheppard is a junior at North Laurel High School in London, Ky.

According to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, at the time of this writing Sheppard was ranked No. 22 nationally and No. 5 at combo guard.

The 247Sports Composite, by extension, rates Wagner as the No. 1 combo guard. In all fairness, other recruiting services detail Wagner as a point guard, but it does seem like there might be some positional overlap between him and Sheppard.

Could that influence Wagner’s recruitment as it pertains to Kentucky and his other suitors, including the Orange? Perhaps.

I always like to preface that I’m not a recruiting analyst, nor am I in Wagner’s inner circle. He could view Sheppard’s commitment to the Wildcats as enticing, as Wagner might want to play alongside another five-star player in Lexington.

Or maybe Wagner sees Sheppard’s pledge to Kentucky as a development that could cut into his own future playing time for the Wildcats. I don’t think that’s super likely, but we’ll of course continue to track Wagner’s recruiting process.

Wagner is a pre-season first-team All-American ahead of the 2021-22 stanza, according to MaxPreps. Camden High School is one of the top squads around the country.

As a sophomore, Wagner was magnificent, and I’m quite confident that he will shine again during his junior term.