Dajuan Wagner Hopes to Eventually Resume His Basketball Career

by February 01, 2012

The Philly Daily News recently caught up with the reclusive Dajuan Wagner — his once-promising career was cut short by injuries — who says that he’d like to give the NBA another shot. This would be an amazingly awesome comeback story for the soon-to-be 29-year old: “If you want to find Dajuan Wagner, go to a Camden basketball game. Duh. […] I approached him at halftime, while his son went to the concession stand. If Wagner didn’t want to talk, he didn’t act like it. He was soft-spoken and polite, shy even. He told me he’s on the court almost every day, alone in empty gyms and or playing in pickup games that have become profoundly meaningful to him. His skills, his dead-on radar for the basket, haven’t left, but he did say he needs time to feel right before he thinks about coming back. He needs to be confident that his body can do what it once did without question. ‘My goal is to be out there playing basketball someday,’ he says. ‘No one’s ever had the problems I’ve had and come back. I’m getting there. This is the best I’ve ever felt in a long, long time. People think I’m out there just sitting around, but I’m not.’ Over the last 18 months, Wagner has been training at a facility just outside of Ocean City. Jon Porter, the strength-and-conditioning specialist at Elite Athletic Performance in Seaville, said Wagner is about 90 percent ready. He trains like ‘a football player,’ Porter says, and straps 100-pound weights around his waist when he does pull-ups. ‘He does everything I ask, no questions asked.’ Porter thinks Wagner could be ready for the 2012-13 NBA season. ‘It’s a matter of getting the legs back to game shape,’ he says. ‘His shot is incredible. That hasn’t changed at all. He can shoot from pretty much anywhere. It’s almost surreal to watch.’ The ability to score, to find his shots, has never been the issue with Wagner. It’s his health that has. ‘If he said tomorrow, ‘I am playing,’ there would be such a buzz. The whole league would be abuzz,’ the NBA scout says. ‘Can he play? Is he healthy? Those are the million-dollar questions.’ The scout, who asked not to be identified, says Wagner needs to showcase his talents in competitive games, either in Europe or the NBA Development League. One of the advantages of not having played all these years, the scout says, is Wagner’s body hasn’t taken NBA-style abuse for years. ‘If he’s in good shape and he’s healthy, then go show us. The league is dying for talent,’ the scout said. ‘If Dajuan Wagner is a guy who came off your bench and gave you 11 or 12 points, he could fit anywhere.’ Still, neither Wagner nor anyone in his inner circle will commit to a date. ‘I honestly don’t know the timetable,’ says Arthur ‘OG’ Barclay, Wagner’s best friend and former teammate at Camden and Memphis. ‘He’s been working out for a while now. He’s definitely going to give it another try.'”