2023 Kentucky Signee Justin Edwards: 'We Can Win a National Championship'
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The 2022-23 basketball season didn’t end quite the way Kentucky fans had hoped, with the Cats falling in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. However, with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2023, Kentucky’s newcomers have higher hopes.
Kentucky has four players in the 2023 McDonald’s All-American Game, taking place in Houston on Tuesday, March 28, including five-star forward Justin Edwards.
Edwards didn’t hold back from doubling down on the high expectations for next year’s team when asked about the class at media day.
“I think we can accomplish a lot,” Edwards said. “I think we can win a national championship and I think Cal [John Calipari] can go back to playing freshmen a lot.”
Edwards also discussed the role he thinks he’ll play at Kentucky next season.
“I’m not somebody that’s ball dominant. I feel like I can still go in and be me,” he said. “Off the ball, I let the game come to me.”
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Justin Edwards’ Game
Five-star guard Justin Edwards of Imhotep (P.A.) Institute is the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect, according to the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. On3 ranks Edwards as the No. 4 player overall and the No. 3 ranked small forward.
Edwards excelled on the first day of McDonald’s All-American practices on Sunday, being mentioned by On3’s Jamie Shaw among the event’s standouts.
“Kentucky signee Justin Edwards used his length well, disrupting plays and gaining deflections. His jump shot release also looked smooth during the drill portion of the McDonald’s All-American practice,” Shaw wrote.
Throughout the event, Edwards has had the opportunity to build chemistry with future Cat teammate DJ Wagner, playing together for the first time since eighth grade.
“Just to be on the same team again was fun,” Edwards said.
Edwards Talks the Recruiting Process
Justin Edwards committed to Kentucky in July of 2022 and is now part of a No. 1-ranked recruiting class that features fellow McDonald’s All-Americans Wagner, Aaron Bradshaw, and Reed Sheppard, as well as five-star guard Rob Dillingham.
With the process in the rearview, Edwards took time to reflect on what coaches could have done differently to persuade him to choose their program.
“Me personally, I like to have a bond, so I feel like when coaches go through that stretch and not talk to you that’s not good,” he said. “Some players don’t react the same. Just a little text here and there means something to people.”
Throughout the recruiting process and since committing, Edwards has spent a lot of time talking to Kentucky assistants Chin Coleman and Orlando Antigua.
“What makes them special is just me growing up watching them,” Edwards said of the staff. “Just to be recruited by them and for me to go there is special. I talk to Cal once in a blue moon. He’s the head coach, so I don’t expect him to talk to me every day. He talks to me when he can.”