February 27, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Kentucky basketball recruit: Justin Edwards, the nation’s No. 2 potential player, commits to Wildcats at CBS Sports HQ

Kentucky basketball recruit: Justin Edwards, the nation's No. 2 potential player, commits to Wildcats at CBS Sports HQ

Kentucky State got a big commitment on Monday, when five-star winger Justin Edwards picked the Wildcats over Tennessee State Live on CBS Sports HQ. Ranked the No. 2 player overall in Class 2023 by 247 SportsEdwards is the UK’s third-highest 30 commitment in the second tier and a five-star pledge alongside goalkeeper Robert Dillingham.

Amid the re-classification of No. 1 overall candidate JJ Jackson into the 2022 class, Edwards has emerged as one of the top favorites to win first place in the 2023 class. Among the main contenders for that honor is another Kentucky State target in guard DJ Wagner.

Regardless of where the final rankings ended up, Edwards presents a huge opportunity for the Wildcats as they jump UConn and climb from No. 3 to No. 2 in the 247 Sports Team Ranking for the category. Duke is still at the top of the rankings for now, but a commitment from Wagner could change that.

Before cutting his roster to Kentucky and Tennessee, Edwards also considered Auburn, Kansas, Maryland, Villanova and G League Ignite. The 6-foot-7 star of Philadelphia’s Imhotep Institute is the #1 junior striker in his class and has a .9980 rating in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Edwards as a player

Edwards averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while leading Imhotep to city and state titles as a junior. His strong performance with Imhotep helped him jump from 12th to 3rd in the 247 Athlete Ranking for the 2023 class in May.

In the summer session, he plays in the team final. This is a recent Edwards review from Travis Branham for 247Sports:

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“Edwards is the most well-rounded player in the class when he shoots all cylinders. He is a 6-foot-7-tall winger and sportsman who can dribble, pass and shoot with a polished offensive package who is able to go out and create his own attack at any moment and can rebound and defend at a high level.”

Kentucky brand

If there are any concerns about UK coach John Calipari continuing on the enlistment path after the Wildcats’ stunning first-round exit from the NCAA Tournament at the hands of seed 15th St. Peter, this should calm the matter. It was a horrific end to the season, particularly on the heels of the 9-16 record in 2020-21, but Edwards’ commitment shows just how strong the Big Blue Nation brand is in hiring.

The 2022 class in Kentucky was topped by five-star prospects Casson Wallace and Chris Livingston, but ranked 14th overall in the 247Sports team rankings. With Edwards, Dillingham and Reed Sheppard committed to ranking 28th, the Wildcats are desperate to finish at number one this time around.