If it wasn’t clear before Kenny Payne hired rising star Nolan Smith away from Duke, it should be now: the man is not messing around about rebuilding Louisville basketball.
In a clever and pretty funny move, really, he didn’t hire DJ Wagner’s dad as a coach, a la Larry Brown and Danny Manning.
He hired the grandad. And it makes perfect sense. Actually, it’s kind of hard to argue about it.
Milt Wagner starred at Louisville in 1986 when the Cards beat Duke for the NCAA championship.
He had a long career. He’s been around players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Magic Johnson.
He’s a reasonable hire as director of player development and alumni relations.
What would be reallllly funny about now would be for John Calipari - Kentucky is also heavily involved with young DJ - to hire Wagner’s father, Dajuan, in a similar role.
And he’d be qualified too.
Toss in a near-certain booster bidding war via NIL and DJ’s time in college could be worth between three and five million for the family. Maybe more!
Get the popcorn, this could be fun.