Three signees of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, Aaron Bradshaw, Justin Edwards, and D.J. Wagner, have been named as the semifinalists for the prestigious Naismith Trophy High School Player of the Year award, given annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Bradshaw and Wagner are two highly rated five-star prospects playing for Camden High School, with Bradshaw averaging 12.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game, and Wagner putting up 21.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Edwards, another five-star prospect, suits up for the Philadelphia Imhotep Institute Charter High School, which is ranked in the top 10 programs nationally. He is the first player from the Philadelphia public league to be named a McDonald’s All American since 1993.
UK head coach John Calipari had high praise for the three young players when they signed with the Wildcats. Speaking about Bradshaw, Calipari said, “The most impactful trait we can have on the defensive end is the ability to block shots, and Aaron is elite at that.” He also praised Edwards’ “ability to impact the game in a variety of ways” and Wagner’s “competitor” spirit.
The Naismith Trophy is one of the most prestigious awards in high school basketball, and the three players are in good company, as former Wildcat Ron Mercer was the lone recipient of the award in 1995 after a standout senior season with Oak Hill Academy. Bradshaw is ranked as high as fourth overall in the class by both 247Sports and ESPN, while Edwards is ESPN’s No. 1 ranked player in the 2023 class, and Wagner is rated as high as No. 2 by ESPN.
These three players are sure to bring a lot of excitement to Kentucky basketball in the coming years, and their recognition as Naismith Trophy semifinalists is a testament to the talent they possess. The Wildcats faithful will be eagerly waiting to see what these future stars can do on the court.