RICK BARRY, BOBBY HURLEY JR., KELLY TRIPUCKA, KYRIE IRVING, KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS, JAY WILLIAMS, ANDREW BYNUM, LUOL DENG, JOAKIM NOAH, TIM THOMAS. The list goes on and on of former New Jersey High School players who were the star of stars in high school. All eventually made the NBA. Most have had major success. However, nobody in the history of the talent rich state of New Jersey hoops captivated the hearts of fans as much as Dajuan Wagner. Wagner was indeed a legend and myth.

In a city highlighted by crime, poverty, drugs, and corruption, Camden, New Jersey has always had one outlet. Basketball. In 2000 and 2001 the shining light for the destitute city was a baby-faced 6’2″ 200 pound guard for the Camden High School Panthers. In the winter of 2000, the kid nicknamed “The Messiah” put the city of Camden in a positive spotlight. The son of former Louisville star and former NBA player Milt Wagner led Camden High School to the New Jersey High School Tournament of Champions championship. He packed high school gyms throughout the state. He sold out Rutgers University (THE RAC). People wanted a glimpse of him. Wagner provided that. And he did it in the most spectacular fashion that has never been seen before in New Jersey.

Wagner averaged 42.5 points a game as a senior in 2001 and scored 3,462 points in his high school career, which is the New Jersey state record for career points. He scored an astronomical 100 points in a single game. For his exploits, Wagner was named in 2001 as the USA TODAY’s boys high school basketball player of the year.

After his illustrious high school career, “Juanny” as he was known by friends headed to Memphis to play for Head Coach John Calipari. After averaging 21.2PTS, 2.5REB, and 3.6AST in his one year at college, it was off to the NBA. Wagner was often compared to Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Allen Iverson throughout his high school and college career. Now he was going to be playing against the future Hall of Famer in the NBA.


The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Wagner with the 6th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. He was supposed to be the savior DAJUAN WAGNERof the franchise before a certain “King” arrived. Wagner had solid success as a rookie, averaging 13.4PTS, 2.8AST, and 1.7REB a game. The potential for stardom was evident and Wagner was surely going to build upon his promising rookie year.

The potential and buzz started to fade. Hampered by injuries, Wagner’s career and life took a nosedive. He was subsequently hospitalized with a serious condition called ulcerative colitis and had to have his colon removed. For someone with so much promise and talent this was devastating to Wagner’s career. After being drafted to become the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers he was released in 2005. The player who took the reigns of the Cavaliers was the “King”, LeBron James.

In 2006, Wagner rebounded from his illness and signed a 2-year contract with the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, 2 months later he was released. He ended up going overseas and playing in Poland before another set of injuries forced him to return home to New Jersey.


On most days now you can find Wagner in Cherry Hill, NJ at the Adrenaline Sports Performance Center in which he owns. He is still working out with hopes of trying to make a comeback. At 32-years old, he knows the clock is ticking down. His godfather William Wesley is trying to help him make a comeback. Wesley is known in NBA circles as “World Wide Wes”. He is considered a power broker and one of the most influential people on the business side of basketball.

Whatever happens in Dajuan Wagner’s basketball future remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain. In 2000 and 2001 he took the fans of New Jersey high school basketball on the ride of a lifetime. Perhaps most importantly, Dajuan Wagner gave the cold, dark city of Camden, New Jersey something to be proud of and will always be its shining light.

Article was previously published in December 2015



(In affiliation with Amazon)


  1. Steven says:

    With me living in the UK basketball isnt a main sport but ive started watching it recently and really like.

    I love a good background story and for wagner to bring some light to a dark city is fantastic.

    sport can really bring the world together and shed atleast some peace.

    My friend went to basket ball game in america and said its got way more atmosphere than a fottball match in the UK

    1. admin says:


      Thank you. Best of luck with everything.

  2. Peter says:

    Hello Rob,

    here are eome comments on your IN THE GYM RANGE

    All items are nicely worded and the content interesting and informative. The site is clearly arranged easy to navigate with a lot of .

    As the theme you have chosen is very simplistic (which is much to my liking) there is a lot of empty space around the content, making it look rather barren on some of the pages. It may help to increase the size of the fonts you are using. This would not only help fill out the empty space, but would also be of great benefit to readers with poorer eyesight such as myself.

    Otherwise, it looks very professional to me.

    Hope this is of assistance.


    1. admin says:


      Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it. Best of luck.

  3. jschicanha says:

    for this reason that i love sport i use to feel more good whenever i’m reading something related to sport more especially the history related stories and with this post i have found it more useful and now willing to follow every story that i found more useful

    thanks for the information provided



    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      Thank you for your comments. It is greatly appreciated. We try and provide or viewers with the most in-depth articles possible.


  4. Marc says:

    Loving the content on this page. Very thorough with your content. Simple examples to back up your content.

    Needs more visual content though. Add more visuals to help make your post look more beautiful and live.This will help your audience love your site more.

    All in all very good work!

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      Thank you for liking the content. I agree with you in regards to adding more visuals. This was one of the first articles that was written on the website so there were things that could have made the article stronger. Although, this article is still the most popular article that is on our website.


  5. rule2020 says:

    Excellent article about Juanny! This is very informative to all fans of Juanny to know the updates about him/ He is an admirable player with great potential but came up short because of various injuries and health problems.

    This is a perfect example of the old adage “Health is Wealth!” Talent, beauty, riches, everything becomes nothing without Health!

    Wishing for a second chance for Juanny!

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      You made some very good comments about this article. It is so true that health comes before everything else. He was an excellent talent who just had too many injuries/ailments, which stopped him from being the player he could have became.


  6. Derek Marshall says:

    Hi there,

    In all sports it happens to the very best of them some peak too early and are super stars early in their careers and then nose dive early too.

    Other like Dejuan get blighted by injury and rarely shine again.

    It does make you what could have come of them and Dejuan if they (and he) had not been hampered by injuries.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      I like the point you make in that you just never know how good he could have become. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of any sport. In his case, the injuries and his sickness was just too much to overcome.


  7. Dan says:

    I thought Wagner would end up being an NBA all star…that being said I wonder if he didn’t have to have that surgery how good he would have ended up.
    Maybe he wouldn’t have been Allen Iverson but he may have been more like a Jerryd Bayless. Who knows though but by now he really has no chance of making it back to the league.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      I saw Wagner play in high school around 4-5 times and he was amazing. I like how you gave 2 different opinions on him. While he was known as a scorer, there were questions about other aspects of his game and that is why I like how you included Bayless into the equation. Bayless was also a highly touted prospect, who has turned into a good NBA player, however, not the star that many people envisioned him to be. One thing I am pretty certain of though would be that Wagner would have scored a lot of points a game. He was more of a shooting guard then a point guard, in my opinion. It is a shame that we never really got a chance to see what he was capable of doing.


  8. Gary says:

    That’s a sad story. I really enjoyed the highlights. He was an amazing athlete. I truly hope that he can stay healthy and make it back some day. This story is a reminder that no matter how good you are, nothing is guaranteed. It can all be taken away at any time. I wish him the best. Thanks for sharing this story.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      He really was an amazing athlete. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the sport. The sickness is what I believe to really derail his career. You make a great point in how nothing is ever guaranteed. All the hard work that an athlete puts in over his entire career can be taken away in a second due to an injury, sickness, or anything else for that matter.


  9. Kenny says:

    You make New Jersey sound much worse than I ever thought it to be. It is always great to have some kind of light for any amount of bad. Basketball is a great light to have for New Jersey.
    Dajuan Wagner had quite a career. Being able to come out the Camden High School gym in New Jersey makes him a real stand alone star. Being able to get picked out of the Draft #6 makes his career that much more fun to follow. He is planning on making a come back that is super cool. How much would I be able to pick up his jersey for?

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      I agree with you that making it out of Camden High School and become a professional athlete is a great accomplishment. In regards to his jersey, I would go to the NBAStore. You can find that link on the main menu on my website. They have everything you could possibly want and are running great holiday sales.


  10. Julian Butler says:

    I’m not as much of a basketball fan as I am a football fan, but any kind of talent that is sidelined by injury and illness is always sad. I was inspired by Dajuan’s story though and I hope he is able to make the comeback that he’s shooting for!

    Thanks for sharing this story – I will be sure to keep an ear out for his return.


    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      It is always a shame when an athlete or person gets an serious injury or illness. However, when that player works hard to get back to where he/she used to be, it makes for a great story. That is why nobody should ever give up when faced with a big obstacle standing in his/her way.


  11. Tammy L Marshall says:

    Im not a big fan of basketball but I do love sports. Especially football. I dont live there but my heart is in Wisconsin. Very good article. Informative and to the point. Not a huge amount of content but I dont think it needs anymore. You covered the bases and got right to the point. Very nice!!

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for your comments and your opinions on this article. Wisconsin also has a very good men’s college basketball team every year. They went to the national championship game a few years ago. We try to write in-depth articles to give the reader knowledge of the specific topic.

      1. Jamal Wyche says:

        Thanx for sharing the Cavs own Dajuan Wagner also my cuzin. It was a great read i make sure i tell him bout generosity bout him. Also i sell sign autograph jersey’s and sneakerz worn by Dajuan Wagner nd good friend Allen Iverson #HOF #TheAnswer #ai3

        1. HI,
          I would really appreciate that. Thanks.

    2. Jamal Wyche says:

      Thanx for comments on ma cuzin Dajuan Wagner

  12. Madelaine says:

    Wow, great article! Dajuan sounds awesome! I can’t believe he had a 100 point game!
    That is so sad that he kept getting hurt. I can’t imagine having that much potential, and then not being able to play anymore. Everything happens the way it’s supposed to though!
    It’s nice that he was able to build a business for himself though. Still, I hope to see him back one day soon! It’s nice that he has someone on the business side of basketball pulling for him!
    Madelaine C.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      You make some great comments. It really is a shame that he had multiple injuries because he could have been great. He has a very good and popular business that he owns, which players of all levels go to and practice in.


  13. Jamal Wyche says:

    Dajuan Wagner s a good friend of mind just as much as family, i can go eat at his house so im very close to him his dad Milt Wagner and uncle Wes aka #worldwidewes juanny is more focus on his son playing career cuz he can play and have the tools of being great. Wagner is still one of the best to ever play on all levels, cuzin Micael Kidd Gillcrest is tryna make a name for him slf after growing up in camden watching cuzin play and ern a 53million dollar contract y MJ owner of the hornets. We will see young Dajuan Wagner jr. Be a good player in the coming yrs. Much love D Wag.

    1. Hi Jamal,
      I loved your story. Thanks for sharing. I remember seeing him in high school a bunch of times. When they won the state championship at Rutgers was a great moment. Also, when he had the buzzer beating lay-up against Saint Patrick’s. Thanks again.

  14. Joey says:

    Good article. I don’t follow basketball but I remember hearing about this player. Very sad story about his accident and the injuries he sustained which ended his career. I even remember people talking about how he scored 100 points in a game when in high school. Quite a big achievement.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      It is a sad story. It is a shame that situations he couldn’t control affected his career. The most important thing is he is healthy. He was an unbelievable player when he was in high school and college.


  15. Dan Kitinoja says:

    I m from Cleveland and I remember how excited we all were about having DaJuan (or Juanny as the radio guy used to call him) on the team. Wonder what would have happened with him teaming up with LeBron and becoming veterans together. I hope he gets a chance at NBA or some other league. Maybe Europe or China. Or wherever. Wishing him luck!

    1. Hi Dan,
      I remember him in high school and just thinking how good of an NBA player he was going to become. It is very unfortunate that he had all the injuries. I would love to see him continue his career but it looks like he won’t at this time. What a player he was though.

  16. Nick says:

    Dejuan was a beast. I played with his cousin in high school who is still the best ball handler I’ve ever seen. So much talent in that family.

    1. Hi Nick,
      Wagner was the best high school player I have ever seen. Even better than Kyrie Irving at the same stage. That is great that you played with his cousin. It is a shame what happened to him because I really thought that he would be an NBA star.


  17. JeffWA says:

    As soon as I saw the title to your article, I soon asked myself the same question – what did happen to Dajuan Wagner? Also, it’s scary how time flies!

    I remember that Wagner was a fantastic player coming out of high school and Camden, NJ. As it turned out going to Memphis and playing for John Calipari, perhaps it was a mistake that Wagner went to play for this coach.

    While Calipari has turned out some great players, (John Wall, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, all the way back to Marcus Camby) during his coaching career at first UMass and later Memphis then Kentucky, ultimately many players are all encouraged by Calipari to turn pro as soon as possible. This is fine for those players that I listed above. But there is also a laundry list of players who seemingly disappeared due to the fact that they were NOT ready for the rigors of the NBA, after a year playing in college. Still 19 or 20 year old kids these players also never were able to fully develop their games before turning pro.

    Now you mentioned that soon after turning pro, Wagner was beset by a lot of injuries. More than anything else, it’s why Dejuan did not turn out to be a great player who was fortunate enough to have a long NBA career. It’s almost like Derrick Rose whose career started off so well playing for the Chicago Bulls, (MVP of the league once) before that devastating knee injury derailed one season and Rose has not been close to the same player since.

    I also remember Dejuan’s father Milt playing for Louisville, (and Denny Crum) back in the 1980’s. I’m trying to remember off the top of my head if Milt was on the 1986 Louisville team that won the NCAA crown, led by Pervis Ellison, (they knocked off Duke for the title).

    Such a shame as to what happened to Dejuan, even regarding the serious health issues that hit him when he was trying to make a comeback.

    As I said above, the fact that this all occurred in 2001 – 2003 is mindboggling when one realizes that it was 14 – 16 years ago now.


    1. Mondo21 says:

      Yes Milt aka Ice knocked down 2 key free throws to lift the ‘Ville over Duke!

      1. admin says:

        Although I never saw Milt play live as he is much older than I am, I heard that is was really good. I now he is still highly thought of in New Jersey.

  18. Milkman says:

    100pt game thats insane. Considering a high school game is only 32minutes It is one of the hardest feats to accomplish in the game of sport. Hope to see Dajuan Wagner back in the league one day and wish him the best of health.

    1. Hello,
      I saw him play multiple times in high school. He is still the best prep player that I have ever seen in person. That includes former and current NBA players and All-Stars. He was a phenomenal player.


  19. pau says:


    1. Hi Pau,
      Dajuan Wagner is the best high school player I have ever seen perform live in person. That includes former NBA All-Stars and numerous NBA players. He was a scoring machine. It is very unfortunate that his career was derailed by sickness and injuries. He had the potential to become a star in the NBA.

  20. Alicia says:

    I’m originally from Camden and a huge basketball fan. This is a great story story. I remember when he played high school basketball. My younger brothers would call me after games because they were so excited to tell me about Dajuan. He really bought a light to the city.

    1. admin says:

      That is a great story. Wagner was the BEST high school player I have ever see. hat includes numerous players who have gone on to be NBA All-Stars. It is a shame what happened to him. I highly believe he would have been a superstar.


  21. Nath says:

    Interesting to read on here. Well the truth us actually I’m not that big of a basketball fan but actually, reading about this dajuan Wagner is actually a bit down. The information you shared here is spot on because I tried reading more on him immediately I saw this post here. Good one and thumbs up

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      Thank you very much. We will be publishing our 2020 NBA mock drafts soon as well.

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