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Former Kentucky guard DJ Wagner transferring to Arkansas to reunite with John Calipari for sophomore season

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One of the biggest names in the 2024 portal cycle has made his transfer choice: Former Kentucky lead guard DJ Wagner will be following John Calipari to Arkansas for his sophomore season, the Wagner family told CBS Sports.

Wagner had been in the portal for more than a month and recently took visits to USC and Arkansas. He also flirted with the idea of playing at Oregon and Florida, sources said. After a highly publicized high school career, Wagner’s freshman season at UK wasn’t quite as productive or prolific as some anticipated. He averaged 9.9 points, 3.3 assists, and 1.9 rebounds in 29 games at Kentucky, 28 of which he started. Wagner played 25.8 minutes per game and shot 40.5%. He’s a former five-star prospect who at one point was rated No. 1 in the Class of 2023. (He finished No. 6 at 247 Sports.)

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported the news.

Wagner opted to quietly commit to Arkansas over the weekend and will be going against the modern custom of posting his commitment to social media — a rare decision for a high-profile college athlete in 2024. 

Wagner is the son of Dajuan Wagner, a former No. 1 recruit who also played for Calipari in 2001-02 at Memphis. He’s the grandson of Milt Wagner, who famously helped lead Louisville to a national championship in 1986.

Kentucky went 23-10 last season and had its campaign end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when it was upset by No. 14 seed Oakland. Wagner had zero points on five shots in that game. It solidified the work he needed to do to build out a potential career in the NBA. Despite some up-and-down play in his first season, Wagner remains an NBA prospect and is expected to be among the most intriguing sophomores in college basketball for the 2024-25 season.

His addition to Arkansas is a big-time get for Calipari, who now has eight players on scholarship, many of them high-profile additions — and all of them via the transfer portal after Calipari took the Razorbacks job during the weekend of the Final Four. Wagner rates 15th in David Cobb’s ranking of the best 2024 transfers in college basketball.

In joining Arkansas, Wagner will play alongside FAU transfer Johnell Davis, who played a similar role under Dusty May with the Owls. Davis (18.2 ppg) and Wagner are both ball-dominant lead guards who thrive as playmakers but are also capable of scoring without having to initiate offense. That dynamic — and how Calipari builds his offense through their similar skill sets — will be a storyline to watch on one of college basketball’s most interesting and tracked teams for 2024-25. 

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