Milt Wagner, Grandfather of No. 1 CBB Recruit D.J. Wagner, Hired By Louisville

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, MA - JANUARY 17: DJ Wagner of Camden (21) makes a move during the second half of the Spalding Hoophall Classic high school basketball game between Camden and Milton on January 17, 2022 at Blake Arena in Springfield, MA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Louisville Cardinals reportedly made a notable move in the race to land top recruit D.J. Wagner.

According to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, Louisville hired Milt Wagner, who played for the Cardinals and is the grandfather of D.J. Wagner. Wagner will be the program's director of player development and serve in an alumni relations role.

The younger Wagner is the No. 1 player in the 2023 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

Milt Wagner is one of the most accomplished players in Louisville history.

He played for the Cardinals from 1981-86 and won a national championship while reaching three Final Fours. He was also an All-Metro Conference selection three times and was a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks after his collegiate career.

His NBA career included stops on the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, and he won a championship with the Purple and Gold in 1988.

As for D.J. Wagner, Borzello noted he is "the subject of an intense recruiting battle between Louisville and Kentucky."

There is also some family history in place outside of his grandfather's connection to Louisville. Kentucky head coach John Calipari coached his father, Dajuan Wagner, at Memphis. Dajuan Wagner signed with the Tigers after Calipari hired Milt Wagner for the Memphis program at the time.

What's more, Louisville head coach Kenny Payne was teammates with Milt Wagner on Louisville's 1986 national championship team.

"Just the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry, I feel like that's crazy. I'm still open to every college right now, I'm just enjoying the process," D.J. Wagner said. "But I think that rivalry, just Kentucky and Louisville in general, the history behind it, it's a great rivalry."

Winning this battle on the recruiting trail will set the table for either Louisville or Kentucky to win the rivalry showdown on the court as well.