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John Calipari downplays concern over DJ Wagner, Rob Dillingham sharing the ball

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John Calipari downplays concern over DJ Wagner, Rob Dillingham sharing the ball

The age-old question with any super-team will always be: How will those two stars play with one another? No one in the collegiate ranks knows this situation better thank Kentucky‘s John Calipari.

He made a team so deep one time that he was forced to utilize lineups in platoons. Five come in, five come out. In other words, it doesn’t matter who is on Calipari’s team — they’ll get their fair share of time with the ball in their hands.

Kentucky’s incoming recruiting class is one of the most star-studded groups he has ever brought to Lexington. Signing the No. 1 and No. 2 combo guards in the 2023 class in DJ Wagner and Rob Dillingham, those questions have been raised once again.

“Well, that’s been my whole career. We’re all about dribble-drive and having different guys who can do it. In the last couple of years, we have not had the exact personnel to play that way,” Calipari said, via Fox Sports. “People said it about Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose and Antonio Anderson. They asked, ‘How are you going to play with John Wall and Eric Bledsoe?’ They said the same thing with Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson.

“Well, we did it. With my best players, we play that way. We figure it out, and we can only figure that out if that young man wants to play with other good players.” 

Those teams that Calipari mentioned — 2008 at Memphis, 2010 and 2015 at Kentucky — all had that same question asked before the start of the season. All of those teams made it to the Elite Eight or better, so based off his past success — Wagner and Dillingham will thrive in Calipari’s backcourt next season.

Wagner, alongside fellow Kentucky commit Justin Edwards were named co-MVPs of the Iverson Classic last week. Wagner finished with 19 points (all in the second half) while Edwards scored 20. Dillingham teamed up with Wagner during the game, splitting time at the point guard position and the two provided a flash of what the duo will look like in Lexington next season, including a flashy assist from Dillingham to Wagner on the fast break that led to a dunk.

Kentucky fans got a first look at the five-star backcourt of Rob Dillingham and DJ Wagner at tonight’s @iversonclassic

— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) April 30, 2023

It will be just a matter of weeks before Calipari’s newest group heads to campus for summer workouts. With only two players set in stone as returning to UK that received actual minutes last season — Ugonna Onyenso and Adou Thiero — Kentucky has some portaling to do in the mean time.

The post John Calipari downplays concern over DJ Wagner, Rob Dillingham sharing the ball appeared first on On3.

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