Kentucky’s D.J. Wagner Seizes Freshman of the Week Title: A Look at the Top Freshmen in College Basketball

Kentucky's D.J. Wagner Seizes Freshman of the Week Title: A Look at the Top Freshmen in College Basketball


Ranking the standout freshmen in college basketball, Kentucky’s D.J. Wagner seizes the title of Freshman of the Week.

D.J. Wagner once hailed as the pinnacle prospect of the 2023 recruitment class by 247Sports, initially held the top rank but slid down five positions in the final class assessment. Nevertheless, his commitment to Kentucky solidified the Wildcats’ top recruiting class, generating significant anticipation for the 2023-24 season.

Despite a shaky start to his college journey, Wagner showcased glimpses of his former top-tier potential. Notably, he delivered stellar performances against Saint Joseph’s and Marshall, aiding Kentucky’s recovery from an early-season loss to Kansas in the Champions Classic.

Within Kentucky’s recruiting cohort, Wagner stands as the third-best player, trailing behind Justin Edwards and Aaron Bradshaw. Edwards predicted to contend for the top pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, hasn’t quite matched his summer potential displayed during Kentucky’s GLOBAL Jam games in Canada. Meanwhile, Bradshaw has yet to make an appearance due to a pre-season foot injury.

Venturing into the rankings for CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week in the 2023-24 college basketball season, Wagner’s standout showcase occurred during an overtime victory against Saint Joseph’s, where he tallied 22 points, six assists, and three rebounds in 36 minutes. Following this, he notched 28 points and five assists in a mere 26 minutes during a blowout win over Marshall. Although only the latter performance officially counts for the Tuesday-Monday cycle, it’s evident that Wagner is reasserting why he was once the standout player in his class.

He not only achieved a career-high in points but also demonstrated efficiency by shooting 10-of-14 from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. Kentucky’s fate hinges significantly on the performance of its star-studded freshman ensemble.

Now, let’s delve into this week’s rankings. Before that, let’s take a glance at the past rankings this season and the previous winners of the Freshman of the Week accolade.

Frosh Watch: Top Five Freshman Rankings:

  1. Isaiah Collier, USC Stats: 18.2 PPG | 4.8 APG | 52.9% FG Despite a downturn in performance against Oklahoma, Collier retains his top position in his class. His recent low-scoring game and turnover struggles highlight areas for improvement.
  2. Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor Stats: 17.8 PPG | 4.8 RPG | 46.9% FG Walter displayed prowess against Oregon State but faced foul trouble and reduced minutes against Florida. His impact remains crucial for Baylor’s success.
  3. Rob Dillingham, Kentucky Stats: 16.0 PPG | 5.2 APG | 4.3 RPG Consistent performances against Saint Joseph’s and Marshall secure Dillingham’s spot. While Wagner shines, Dillingham’s steady contributions maintain his standing among the Wildcats.
  4. Stephon Castle, UConn Stats: 14.5 PPG | 6.5 RPG | 3.5 APG | 66.7% FG Castle’s limited appearances due to injury don’t detract from his impactful play. His return promises a boost for UConn’s already formidable squad.
  5. Malik Mack, Harvard Stats: 21.1 PPG | 5.1 APG | 3.9 RPG A new entrant to the rankings, Mack’s explosive start as a previously underrated recruit has secured his place. His impressive scoring makes a compelling case for inclusion despite prior occupants.

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