Kentucky basketball recruiting: Justin Edwards, nation’s No. 2 prospect, commits to Wildcats on CBS Sports HQ


Kentucky landed a huge commitment Monday, when five-star wing Justin Edwards picked the Wildcats over Tennessee live on CBS Sports HQ. Ranked the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2023 by 247Sports, Edwards is UK’s third top-30 commitment of the class and second-five star pledge along with guard Robert Dillingham.

Amid the reclassification of No. 1 overall prospect GG Jackson to the Class of 2022, Edwards has emerged as one of the top candidates to claim the top spot in the 2023 class. Among his chief competitors for that honor is another Kentucky target in guard DJ Wagner.

Regardless of where he ends up in the final rankings, Edwards is a big get for the Wildcats as they jump UConn and rise from No. 3 to No. 2 in the 247Sports Team Rankings for the class. Duke remains atop the rankings for now, but a commitment from Wagner could change that.

Before he cut down his list to Kentucky and Tennessee, Edwards also considered Auburn, Kansas, Maryland, Villanova and the G League Ignite. The 6-foot-7 star for Imhotep Institute in Philadelphia is considered the No. 1 small forward in the class and owns a .9980 ranking in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Edwards as a player

Edwards averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while leading Imhotep to city and state titles as a junior. His strong performance for Imhotep helped him jump from No. 12 to No. 3 in the 247Sports player rankings for the 2023 class in May.

On the summer circuit, he plays for Team Final. Here is a recent evaluation of Edwards from Travis Branham of 247Sports:

“Edwards is the most well-rounded player in the class when he’s firing on all cylinders. He’s a 6-foot-7 wing with length and athleticism who can dribble, pass and shoot with a polished offensive package able to go out and create his own offense at any given moment and can rebound and defend at a high level.”

Kentucky’s brand

If there were any concerns over UK coach John Calipari’s continued wherewithal on the recruiting trail following the Wildcats’ stunning first round NCAA Tournament exit at the hand of No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s, this should quell it. It was a horrific ending to the season, especially on the heels of a 9-16 record in 2020-21, but Edwards’ commitment shows how strong the Big Blue Nation brand remains in recruiting.

Kentucky’s 2022 class was headlined by five-star prospects Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston but finished No. 14 overall in the 247Sports Team Rankings. With Edwards, Dillingham and No. 28 overall prospect Reed Sheppard committed, the Wildcats are firmly in the hunt to finish with the top-ranked class this time around.


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