Kentucky commit D.J. Wagner on family legacy and his senior season
Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek sits down with the top point guard in the senior class, D.J. Wagner. The 6-foot-4 guard out of Camden, New Jersey discusses his commitment to Kentucky, relationship with John Calipari and the family legacy with his dad Dajuan and grandfather Milt.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm Krysten Peek here with DJ Wagner. We're at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. DJ, you guys couldn't get the win tonight against Corona Centennial but how is the season been going so far, I mean it's your senior year?
DJ WAGNER: It's been going good. We've really just been having fun, taking it game by game and practice by practice. So I'd say it's been going good for us.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, you finished with 27 points, put on one of the most impressive scoring performances in front of Coach Cal and two assistants who literally ended their game, got on a plane to come to see you. How does that feel, knowing that they put that effort in to come see you play tonight?
DJ WAGNER: It's definitely an honor and it definitely feels great just to know that they supporting me, I say us, that much. Just come to the game and watch us play and really just cheer us on. So it definitely meant a lot.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, I want to say people in the recruiting world have thought that you were going to commit to Kentucky for a long time. You know and then it got interesting there at the end with Louisville sneaking in. What sort of weight was that off your shoulder finally committing to Kentucky?
DJ WAGNER: I just really just wanted to make sure I knew for sure like where I wanted to go. So that I knew like where I was going I was comfortable at and where I could feel at home at the most. So that really was the wait just knowing I made the right decision. And feeling it in my gut.
KRYSTEN PEEK: You can score at all three levels. What's coach Cal's message been to you on how you can come in next year and contribute right away?
DJ WAGNER: Just to keep working hard, just keep playing hard. And he said just like have fun. Like just enjoy this, enjoy high school and then get ready for college and stuff next year but he really just tells me to have fun and just keep working.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Do you hear from him a lot during the season, at all?
DJ WAGNER: Yeah, I definitely talk-- I definitely talk to him. We definitely talk and text and stuff like that so I definitely get to talk to him a lot. But sometimes it's hard, us being in season, the being in season. But he definitely makes time to text me or call me and check in and stuff like that.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Your teammate Aaron Bradshaw is also going to Kentucky. Did you have anything to do with him committing? Were you recruiting him there because you guys already have that chemistry?
DJ WAGNER: He committed first. So if anything, if anything he recruited me, I say, because he committed first. So that was another factor and definitely making me a lot more comfortable going there. Just knowing he goes there, you know I played high school with him. I've been playing with him for a long time now. So just knowing he goes there just made me a lot more comfortable and going there just knowing I would be able to play with him again. So in a way I say he kind of recruited me. But we definitely talked to each other about it. We definitely had a lot of conversations about it.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Ok,so it's you, Reed Sheppard, Rob Dillingham, Justin Edwards. You guys have a monster class coming in. How do you see yourself fitting in the backcourt with players like Reed and Rob?
DJ WAGNER: Right, I feel like we all going to play together great. We talk to each other from time to time. We just talk about like college and stuff like that and I feel as though we're going to have a lot of fun together because we're all winners. We all want to win. So we definitely going to be able to play together and play great together.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Is there any part of you just seeing how Kentucky's struggling this year that makes you want to itch to get to campus or are you just happy to be where you're at and grow as a player right now?
DJ WAGNER: I feel like I feel as though like every team goes through a little struggle or something like that. So I wouldn't even say like it makes me want to play for them even more. I feel as though they're going to be good regardless because I know the type of team that is and the type of coach they have, they are going to fight through that adversity. You see today they just got a big win today, so they back-- they back on the road and they back on the run. So I wasn't really like Oh I wish I could be out there. As of right now I'm still focused on high school too. Just taking it game by game, still playing with my brothers in high school.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah
DJ WAGNER: So I wouldn't really say like I'm anxious to go to college yet. But it's like, I don't know, it's like both worlds.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Right.
DJ WAGNER: Yeah.
KRYSTEN PEEK: NBA scouts are here watching you I know they got a glimpse of at Peach Jam. But what are you hoping to show them and just your growth in your game, each time that they get to see you step on the court?
DJ WAGNER: I would just say like I'm a hard worker. You know that I like to win. That's it really. Nothing like independently or specifically, just that I like to play hard and I like to win and I try to do whatever I can to win.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Dad and grandpa also played at a level that you're trying to get to. What sort of advice and guidance have they given you, kind of just growing up as a basketball player and growing your game?
DJ WAGNER: They definitely give me a lot of different tips and show me different stuff about the game, like stuff that they knew because, like you said, they play at all three levels. So they know all the ins and outs of the game. But most importantly, they just tell me to have fun. Just keep enjoying what I'm doing and just keep having fun, regardless.
KRYSTEN PEEK: You ever get on the court with either one of them and get some shots up?
DJ WAGNER: Oh yeah, most definitely. We shoot around from time to time, you know. Especially when I was younger, we used to shoot back and forth and stuff like that and I used to work out with my dad from time to time. So we definitely played together before.
KRYSTEN PEEK: But you can get them now right in ones and in P.I.G or H.O.R.S.E or anything.
DJ WAGNER: I don't know. We ain't play in a long time, I got to say.
KRYSTEN PEEK: All right, well DJ Thank you so much for the update and for more information on DJ Wagner, keep it right here on rivals.com.