The Kentucky men’s basketball program has added one final piece to its 2020-21 roster.
This afternoon, the school announced that freshman point guard Kareem Watkins – stepson of Dajuan Wagner – would join the team as a walk-on, completing the 15-man roster.
The move comes after freshman walk-on Isaac DeGregorio decided to leave the team last week due to personal reasons.
Watkins, a 5-foot-8, 145-pound guard out of Camden, New Jersey, averaged 8.7 points in 26 games his senior season at Kingsway Regional High School.
The newest Wildcat’s stepfather, Dajuan Wagner, was a star at Memphis under current Kentucky head coach John Calipari. In his lone season at Memphis, Wagner 21.2 points per game, the highest average of any player Calipari has coached. He was also Calipari’s first one-and-done player.
“Kareem is a great kid with a terrific work ethic who is going to be a great addition to our team,” Calipari said. “Kareem knows our expectations of him. We want him to come in here and be a great teammate and help us in practice. His stepfather, Dajuan, who played for me at Memphis, has really instilled a drive in Kareem and I look forward to seeing him continue to develop here with family.”
As for Watkins, the newest Kentucky guard boasts excellent shooting range, scoring in double figures in 11 games in his senior season with multiple 3-pointers in 12 games. He also dished out four or more assists in 14 games, along wiith three or more steals in ten games.
“These last few days have been surreal,” Watkins said. “I grew up wanting to play basketball on the college level. To have the opportunity to do so at a place like Kentucky and under a Hall of Fame coach like John Calipari is a dream come true. I understand what the expectations are of me. I’m excited to come in and be a part of this team and work hard every day to help my teammates and this team chase its goals.”
According to UK Athletics, Watkins scored a season-high 19 points on six made 3-pointers vs. Woodstown with four assists. He also posted 16 points, five rebounds and four assists at Clearview and recorded 15 points, six boards and five dimes vs. Cumberland.
He will join the team after undergoing COVID-19 testing protocols.
In other significant news, this could be a sign of positive recruiting momentum in the distant future, as Wagner’s son, Dajuan Wagner Jr., is considered the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2023. With Calipari’s strong history with Wagner at Memphis, along with Watkins joining the basketball program this year, it could pave the way for Kentucky to add the nation’s top-rated prospect just a few years down the road.
Watkins joins Kentucky’s 2020 freshman class, the consensus No. 1 group in the country, which features six consensus five- and four-star prospects, including top-10 signees Brandon Boston Jr. and Terrence Clarke. The Wildcats also signed Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr, Creighton graduate transfer Davion Mintz and Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin. Sarr and Toppin were recently ruled immediately eligible.