Monday, September 25th, 2006 at 12:17 pm  |  22 responses

The Return of Dajuan Wagner

The former high school phenom takes another shot at an NBA career.

by Lang Whitaker

Anyone recall this Dajuan Wagner kid? As a high school guard, he basically was LeBron before LeBron. I don’t mean that in terms of basketball style or ability, but Juanny was famous by his senior year, with stories in SLAM, GQ, Sports Illustrated, everywhere. He played one year of college ball at Memphis, then went pro, where he was drafted 6th overall by…the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Then things got weird. The Cavs said he was dehydrated, he was injured all the time, he spent time in the hospital, and then they discovered he had collitis, which basically means you have open sores in your colon. Ugh. Then, not even a year ago, doctors removed his entire colon.

We’d heard whispers that Dajuan was mounting a comeback, but word came over the weekend that Juanny had been signed by the Golden State Warriors. Obviously we haven’t seen him play in a few years, but the one thing I remember from Juanny as a high schooler was his incredible work rate. SLAM’s Ben Osborne went down to Camden and watched him working out and came back raving about the kid’s drive and desire to improve.

All those unfulfilling years in the NBA, I think it’s safe to say, people probably suspected that Dajuan wasn’t successful because he wasn’t putting in the work. What we didn’t know, though, was that he was falling off because his body wasn’t right. He obviously feels well enough to return, and he showed the Warriors enough to get a second chance.

You know the advertising tagline about never having a second chance to make a first impression? Juanny doesn’t need that — his first impression was awesome enough. But know he has a second chance to make a second impression. And I’m hoping he’ll do just fine.

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  • Marvin

    YES, Dajuan back in the league. This is great for him. After all the shit he went through. Come back story like ‘Zo. Can I get a Dajuan Warriors jersey??!!!

  • David Quinones

    Wags was sick in the day. I think he got lumped in with that perceived group of mal-Cav-tents like Darius Miles and Ricky Davis, and so he was dropped pretty unceremoniously, especially when you consider that talent. The guy could score in a coffin.

  • Joe

    Good for him.

    Interestingly enough, back in High School I was at a camp with him. I watched his squad play and he basically could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. He wanted to get to the hoop, sure let me first step past you. However he was like Randy Moss in the sense he was taking plays off. I guess it was camp, but still thats the basis for a poor work ehtic in the long term.

    That and either his dad or someone in his group of people we wearing the top of a trophy around their neck on a chain. Ala Flavor Flav but no clock.

    I’m out here in GSW area so hopefully I can catch a game or two.

  • Dblizzy

    Wow! He had is colon removed? How does that work… on second thought, nevermind.I’m glad he’s healthy again, hopefully he can contribute.

  • Bryant Reeves

    Dajuanny! I hope this kid finally has a chance to play a full season injury-free. I’d love to see what he can do at full health.

  • http://slamonline.com Marcel Mutoni

    according to a column found via True Hoop, he seems to be back to his high-scoring ways : http://www.truehoop.com/golden-state-warriors-46879-more-dajuan-wagner-detail-than-you-might-want.html

  • jsmoove

    great fit for don nelson… he makes eddie house look as unselfish as jkidd

  • Dblizzy

    Ok I just googled colitis, which was a big mistake on my part, and now I know waaaaaaaaaay too much about it…

  • Ron

    I saw Juanny this summer in a league here in Philly and he was putting up close to 40 a night. I knew he had a work out with the Sixer that was pretty good, so I’m glad he got a chance to prove himself in this league. I still remember how he had the Delaware Valley going crazy when he scored 100 points in a high school game.

  • noah doucette

    so is he the next lebron, dwade, melo type plaer?

  • rgeezy

    Hes comin back as number 0 too…unless he didnt pick a number yet so they just have him as 0. i dont know how much playing time he will get with B Diddy there and they are really high on Monta Ellis, but Don Nelson does like small back courts, and fast paced games so it could be a good fit.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Dajuan Wagner and Don Nelson is a match made in heaven. Just another reason to have LeaguePass.

  • Dallas J.

    LeaguePass: early-bird pricing sonnnn!

  • albie1kenobi

    WOW. i’ve heard a bunch about this kid, and i didn’t get a chance to watch him play, now he’s gonna be right in my neighborhood. i really hope warriors will be banging this season. looks like they are gonna play small ball all the time now. just outrun everyone and try to score 110 points a night! screw defense! with warrior’s personnel, it only seems like the right thing to do.

  • dblizzy

    Noah, I would say he’s more of an Iverson type. He’s not that tall but he can score his ass off. pretty good handle and he’s got a bigger build than AI. come to think about it, that description sounds a lot like Steph

  • DVLb0y613

    Where does the s@#! come out!? oh nevermind…

  • Dice

    what a great pick up 4 the GSTATE! Wag worked out 4 the nuggets and sixers and they both passed on him they r crazy as HELL!He puts the ball in the basket whenever and however he wants. if it wasnt for his illness he would be a olympic member.Just remember i told u first HES BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.yahoo.com hacdaddy

    I played with juanny in aau and i seen him play this summer against a swuad that had Cat Mobley, Kyle Lowry, Rick Brunson, Alvin Williams, and their center Hakkim Warrick, and he dropped 50 one game and the next 46 so i can say he is back to his del-val days

  • Layz

    I like him as a player, but I believe he came out of Memphis to earlier. He should of stayed til at least finish 2 seasons. I think you are still learning during your 1st year. He still has the ability to be a very good player.

  • cp

    I remember hearing about this dude back when he was in high school and if Lebron did’nt shine juanny would have. He was arguably the most domainant high school player then. I hope he bust ass in the nba.

  • Rell CT(representative)

    That kid D-Wag needed to come back I was just watching him on The One love DVD goin to work on the court so that kid back in the league is something that everybody needs to lookout for

  • Kyree

    Yo d-wag is the best and no one can stop him on the court yo wag stay up cmd camden polock 4 life my nigga