The race to sign Camden’s D.J. Wagner, the No. 1 overall basketball recruit in the Class of 2023, took another turn on Tuesday, with Louisville hiring former star Milt Wagner, D.J.’s grandfather, as director of player development and alumni relations under head coach Kenny Payne.

Wagner, 59, returns to college basketball after last serving as an assistant at Auburn from 2010-14. He described his new role as “being a liaison between KP [Payne] and the players.”

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“I’ll tell them what KP likes and what he’s looking for, and just [share] experiences,” he said. “I’m just kind of like the middleman to help communicate between coach and player.”

His grandson D.J., the son of former University of Memphis and NBA star Dajuan Wagner, is currently the top-ranked junior in the country. Wagner averaged 19.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 steals, and 3.1 assists this past season, leading Camden to its first Group 2 state championship since 2000, and the final of the NJSIAA Basketball Tournament of Champions. Louisville and the University of Kentucky are the favorites to land the five-star point guard.

Kentucky coach John Calipari coached Dajuan at Memphis (2001-02), where Milt was hired to work in basketball operations (2000-06). Dajuan’s stepbrother Kareem Watkins, who joined Kentucky as a walk-on, recently completed his sophomore season with the Wildcats.

On Tuesday, Milt Wagner refused to discuss Louisville’s interest in D.J. and how his new job could factor into the school’s recruitment of his grandson.

“I am not getting into that right now like I said; this is just about me getting on the staff this year,” Milt Wagner said. “This is about Milt Wagner being player development/alumni relations. We’ll get into that part [recruiting D.J.] later down the line, but right now, this is about me being part of the University of Louisville.”

Milt Wagner ranks sixth in Louisville career scoring with 1,834 points and won an NCAA title, alongside Payne, with the Cardinals in 1986. After leaving Louisville, Wagner went on to play two seasons in the NBA, winning a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, before playing for more than a decade professionally in Europe. He believes his winning pedigree will help him bridge the gap with young players.

“You have different kids these days, it can be a little difficult,” Wagner said. “But kids, they do their homework, they look at your background, and a lot of kids they’ll respect what you have achieved, and a lot of them will listen a lot more when they know that you’ve been there, done that and you can help them get to where they are trying to get to.”

D.J. Wagner, who also lists Seton Hall, Syracuse, and Arkansas as schools he’s considering, is widely expected to choose between Louisville and Kentucky. He is currently starring on the summer Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit, which will be in Louisville this weekend. Wagner has not revealed a timeline for when he will make his college decision.