The Luxurious Life of World Wide Wes and Calipari
17 Apr 2009
For years now, everyone that knows me personally absolutely understands the one thing that I believe is ruining college basketball : John Vincent Calipari. Why you might ask? One man: World Wide Wes. The man is a marketing powerhouse and an “agent” for high school athletes that are the sure one and dones. He also happens to be a very close friend and recruiter for Coach Calipari. In this article they outline the mystery, sketchiness, and life of World Wide Wes.
In 2001, Wes’s godson and Milt’s son, Dajuan Wagner, was the consensus best high school basketball player in the world. If Dajuan had entered the NBA draft after his junioryear at Camden High, he might have been the number one pick. But Wes persuaded him to let the NBA wait and spend a year or two playing for John Calipari at the University of Memphis. The deal came with plenty of strings attached: Wes made it clear to Calipari that Dajuan was more inclined to sign with a school that also gave a free ride to his best friend, Arthur Barclay, an all-state player who’d been passed over because of poor test scores. (Done.) Then Milt, despite lacking a college degree, was hired to be Memphis’s head of basketball operations. When news of the deal leaked out, the media crucified Calipari, painting it as nothing more than legalized graft. Wes answered accusations that something shady had gone down, saying, “Man, I’ve heard the second-guessing. It’s simple: Juanny needed to improve his defense and prove that he can play on the next level. Coach Cal can help him do that. What do I have to gain by him going to Memphis?”
Wes had been managing Dajuan’s career since the boy was 11, and so when it came time for Dajuan to head to Memphis, Wes went along. After only one season—in which Dajuan averaged twenty-one points a game—Calipari called Milt and Dajuan into his office. “I tore up Dajuan’s scholarship in front of him to make sure he understood he wasn’t coming back,” Calipari says. Dajuan was ready for the NBA. The Cavaliers selected him in the ﬁrst round of the 2002 draft, and as Dajuan made his move from college to the pros, Wes was there to ease the transition. In his ﬁrst year, Dajuan was among NBA rookie leaders in scoring, assists, and minutes played.