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Future Cats Showed Out In The McDAAG

If you weren't one of the ones who stayed up late for the 2023 McDonald's All-American game to conclude last night, I guess I'd say... "If you snooze, you lose," because you missed a great one - especially when being a Wildcat fan.

FINAL: East 109, West 106

The East team took home the win in an absolute battle amongst the Burger Boys out in Chicago. In terms of future Kentucky players, the East team had No.1 overall (ESPN) Justin Edwards, No. 2 overall (ESPN) DJ Wagner, and No. 4 overall (ESPN) Aaron Bradshaw. The West team had No. 21 (ESPN) overall and North Laurel's own, Reed Sheppard.

Nearly the entire game, Kentucky held the spotlight in school recognition as no other program was represented more in this annual showcase of the top high school talent from all over the country. While it was a little more dialed back in the first half, Edwards led the way for John Calipari's recruits with 9 points and 4 rebounds. DJ Wagner went scoreless (0-2 FG) with 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. Aaron Bradshaw totaled 7 points and 3 rebounds by the half. The West collected 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist from Reed Sheppard.

The "Kentucky connection" sure was right as we got see it displayed all evening long. The three core on the East (Edwards, Bradshaw, Wagner) clocked in for 20-22 minutes each, so reps together were not limited, whatsoever.

Although it felt a lot like the old days where UK recruits were just taking over the show against elite high school talent, it was the second half when things truly got going. It became the Bradshaw-Edwards-Wagner takeover while Reed Sheppard was getting interviewed during his time off the court. Reed did have a great game himself, finishing with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

DJ Wagner found all of his 19 points in the third and fourth quarter, including a go-ahead dunk that was assisted by Kentucky signee, Justin Edwards, which put the East up 107-106 with just under 0:25 second left in the game. With the West missing a late three-pointer, the game resulted in fouling which had the East securing the lead with some made free-throws right before the clock expired.

DJ Wagner was named the MVP of the East team alongside Bronny James, who was named the MVP for the West team. Both had amazing perfomances in front of their families, which included Lebron James for Bronny, and Milt & Dujuan (grandfather and father) for DJ.

I could include about a dozen of different highlights in this article, but that would bog down the whole piece. If you want to see some of the individual ones, check out the Cats Coverage Facebook or Twitter pages. If you want to see a quick highlight reel put together by a UK fan, check the one linked below.

The final stats included:

Aaron Bradshaw: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal.

DJ Wagner: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks.

Justin Edwards: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals.

Reed Sheppard: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals.


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