BOZICH | D.J. Wagner vs. Reed Sheppard? Get ready for AAU showdown | Sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Be ready to make a dynamic addition for your basketball-viewing calendar:

Plans are just about whole for an AAU recreation matching D.J. Wagner and the New Jersey Scholars towards Reed Sheppard and Gabe Cupps of the Midwest Basketball Club at 7 p.m. May 27 at Valley High School.

Wagner is the grandson of former Cardinal Milt Wagner. He could also be thought to be the highest recruit in the highschool elegance of 2023 and already in the course of an intense recruiting fight between trainer Kenny Payne and the University of Louisville and John Calipari and the University of Kentucky.

Sheppard is the son of former UK Final Four Most Outstanding Player Jeff Sheppard and his spouse, Stacey, additionally a former UK basketball famous person. Shepherd orally dedicated to UK ultimate November.

Cupps, a guard from Dayton, Ohio, is the reigning Ohio Mr. Basketball. He orally dedicated to Mike Woodson and Indiana over Ohio State and Stanford ultimate November.

“We’re going to have a red section and a blue section and we expect to sell it out,” mentioned Pervis Ellison, the previous Louisville famous person, who’s this system director for the New Jersey Scholars. “I’m sure fans will dress in their favorite colors and show all the players on both teams the intense love that people in Louisville have for basketball.”

Ellison was once voted the Most Outstanding Player of the 1986 Final Four when he led U of L to the NCAA name. Three years later, he was once the primary select within the NBA Draft. Payne was once his teammate and best possible pal all 4 seasons with the Cards.

On Friday, Ellison and the 3 New Jersey Scholars groups had been en path to Virginia for any other AAU match.

Ellison mentioned respectable affirmation of the sport must come Monday however he was once assured it could be performed as a result of he’s bringing his groups to Louisville that weekend for a NIKE-sponsored EYBL match May 28-30 on the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Ellison mentioned there have been additionally plans to live-stream the sport.

The Midwest Basketball Club is an Adidas-sponsored program that can’t take part within the Nike match. Ellison and others went to paintings to organize a recreation to check Wagner and his robust workforce towards Sheppard’s squad.

“Considering all the interest in D.J. with Louisville and Kentucky recruiting him, and Reed Sheppard’s connections to Kentucky, the game is a natural,” Ellison mentioned.

Wagner led the Scholars to a 7-1 document of their first two EYBL occasions within the 17-and-under department this spring.

Wagner is 6 toes, 3 inches tall, weighing 165 kilos. He’s been ranked the highest participant within the Class of 2023 for greater than two years and led Camden High School to a New Jersey State name this season. He’s the highest scorer in EYBL play at 21.3 issues according to recreation. He is the son of Dajuan Wagner, who was once taken 6th in 2002 NBA Draft after he performed one season for Calipari at Memphis.

When I talked to D.J. Wagner on the EYBL match in suburban Indianapolis 3 weeks in the past, he discussed U of L, UK, Villanova, Syracuse, Michigan and Arkansas a number of the dozens of techniques recruiting him.

Aaron Bradshaw, who additionally performs for the Scholars and Camden High, is being recruited by way of Kentucky and Louisville. Bradshaw is 7 toes tall and 210 kilos, ranked the No. 24 prospect by way of 247Sports. He ranks 2d in EYBL play with 3.3 blocks according to recreation.

A 3rd Scholars participant, ahead Mackenzie Mgbako, orally dedicated to Duke in early April. He’s the third-leading EYBL scorer at 21.0 issues according to recreation. Mgbako is ranked No. 2 within the elegance by way of 247.

Ellison mentioned different gamers on his 17-and-under squad are being recruited by way of Division I techniques and that his 17-, 16- and 15-and-under groups mixed to lose just one recreation at occasions in Orlando, Florida and Indianapolis.

I requested Ellison if the Scholars 17-and-under workforce will likely be some of the favorites to win the nationwide name on the twenty sixth Annual Peach Jam EYBL Nike match, which starts July 17 in North Augusta, South Carolina.

“One of the favorites?” Ellison mentioned. “We are the favorite.”

Sheppard is 6 toes, 3 inches tall, 170 kilos and ranked the No. 22 prospect within the Class of 2023 by way of 247Sports. He was once voted the Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year right through his junior season and is the frontrunner for Mr. Basketball subsequent 12 months.

Sheppard averaged 25.5 issues, 7.6 assists, 6.8 rebounds and four.4 steals for North Laurel High School, the place he has scored 2,917 issues.

At 6 toes, 2 inches tall and 165 kilos, Cupps led Centerville High School to 45 consecutive wins and a runner-up end within the Ohio Division I match, which Centerville gained in 2021.

Cupps averaged 14.3 issues, 6.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and a couple of steals. He is ranked 82nd in his elegance by way of 247Sports.

“It should be an experience,” Ellison mentioned. “I’m excited about bringing my players back to where I played and they have my jersey on the wall.”

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