Five-star junior striker Justin Edwards announced his commitment to Kentucky on Monday, becoming the Wildcats’ second five-star team in the 2023 class.
Edwards chose the Wildcats over Tennessee, where two SEC schools have competed for his services over the past few months. Kentucky was an early favorite after making a scholarship offer to Edwards last fall, but Tennessee is back after volunteers hosted him for a visit in March.
But the Wildcats have had the most momentum since their live assessment period began in July, and coach John Calipari has made it a priority to watch Edwards all month.
A 6-foot-7 winger from Imhotep Institute Charter High School (Pennsylvania), Edwards is ranked No. 13 in the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2023. He has been one of the most productive players on the Nike EYBL circuit throughout the spring and summer, averaging 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds over 25 games.
Edwards excelled at this month’s Peach Jam, helping lead his team’s final program to the quarter-finals. He had 17 points and 13 rebounds in a win over elite prospects JJ Jackson and CB3 All Stars, and racked up 24 points and 10 rebounds in a quarter-final loss.
“Justin Edwards has been in tears lately,” said Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s national hiring manager. “He played very well at Peach Jam, scoring and rebounding, stealing on and off the ball due to his tall structure. At 6ft 7, he is a great left winger who constantly attacks the basket aggressively. He can switch to different surrounding threats.
“His jump is more than capable, but where he excels is in transition as a high-profile player on the open floor. In the half field, he controls the hard drives, trips to the free throw line and runs on a glass for additional possessions.”
Calipari and Kentucky now have two five-star recruits and three top 30 candidates in the 2023 enlistment category, with Edwards joining top five goalkeeper Robert Dillingham and four-star goalkeeper Red Shepherd. The Wildcats are also favorites for DJ Wagner’s number one overall standings, and they belong squarely to the mix of Ron Holland (#4), Aaron Bradshaw (#19) and Ugonn Kingsley-Onyenso (#35).