Dajuan Wagner was one of the top high school and college basketball players. People believed that he would go on to have a successful NBA career. That was not the case for Wagner as he struggled when he got into the league.
Wagner could not live up to the hype when he got to the league. He only played in the NBA for four seasons and could never find his way back into the league.
Dajuan Wagner’s career before the NBA
Wagner was a highly rated recruit in high school. In high school, he attended Camden High School in New Jersey, and he starred all throughout high school. He was a member of the high school varsity team since his freshman year. During his freshman year, he averaged 27.3 points per game and received the Freshman of the Year award from ESPN. The next season he received the Sophomore of the Year award from ESPN as he averaged 35.3 points per game.
Wagner started to become one of the top players in the nation during his first two years of high school basketball. Heading into his junior year, Wagner was a national figure in high school, and he was playing on a different level. As a senior, he scored 100 points during a high school game. Wagner was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, where he scored 25 points.
Dajuan Wagner’s college career
Wagner was being recruited by some of the top college basketball programs while he was in high school. He decided to choose the University of Memphis in June of 2000. Wagner only played at Memphis for one year, and he made an impact on the team.
He played in 36 games and started in 35. He averaged 21 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.5 rebounds as a freshman. Wagner broke the record for points in a single season with 762 points. John Calipari, who was the head coach at Memphis at the time, believed Wagner did not need to come back to college and wanted him to pursue his NBA dream.
Dajuan Wagner was a bust in the NBA
Wagner decided to enter the 2002 NBA draft after his one season at Memphis. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Wagner with the sixth overall pick. Before the Cavaliers selected LeBron James in the 2004 NBA draft, they looked for Wagner to be a dominant player for them.
Wagner’s first NBA season was his best one. During the 2002-03 season, he played in 47 games and started in 24. He averaged 13.4 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 rebounds. Wagner could not stay healthy throughout his NBA career. After his third season in the league, he suffered ulcerative colitis, which is a disease in the intestine. Wagner had to end up getting his colon removed. He was not the same since. His last season in the NBA was in 2006-07 with the Golden State Warriors. He only played in one game as the Warriors bought out his contract, and just like that, his career was over.
Wagner’s basketball career took a quick spiral downhill. He went from being a top-ranked player in high school and college to being an afterthought in the NBA. Things couldn’t work out in Wagner’s favor, and the injuries he dealt with did not help out at all.