Louisville native Kaden Magwood shines at NBPA Top 100 Camp. And U of L is in pursuit

Pat Kelsey’s tenure as the new Louisville men’s basketball coach begins with a simple mandate: Bring the Cardinals back to respectability.

The bar for that, frankly, is low: U of L went a combined 12-52 across two disastrous seasons with former player, ex-UK assistant and now current Arkansas assistant Kenny Payne as the Cardinals’ head coach.

So far, so good on that front. Like Mark Pope at Kentucky, Kelsey (the former head coach at Winthrop and the College of Charleston) has built a veteran-heavy team via the NCAA transfer portal for the 2024-25 season.

Kelsey has brought in 12 transfers and only one freshman — four-star power forward Khani Rooths, a former Michigan commit — for next season. Two of these transfers, Aly Khalifa (BYU) and Kobe Rodgers (Charleston), will redshirt the 2024-25 season.

While the tides have turned in college basketball with the transfer portal now being prioritized over traditional high school recruiting, Kelsey’s long-term outlook at Louisville will be based, in some part, on his ability to convince top prep prospects to come to the Derby City.

And Kelsey has a major opportunity to get that process started on the right foot.

Class of 2025 combo guard Kaden Magwood is a Louisville native who began his high school basketball career in the city playing at Western High School. Magwood then transferred to Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) and will spend his senior season at Combine Academy (North Carolina), which plays as part of the Overtime Elite league.

But Magwood is a Louisville kid at heart, and the four-star prospect is now a top recruiting target for Kelsey and his new coaching staff.

“I haven’t really spoken to (Louisville) in a minute, but I’m supposed to be setting up an official visit down there, because I’m from there,” Magwood said earlier this week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Orlando, Florida.

The NBPA Top 100 Camp is one of the prized recruiting events of the spring, and it takes place in front of personnel from all 30 NBA franchises, as well as college coaches and recruiters.

Kelsey and Louisville assistant coach Ronnie Hamilton were two of the dozens of high-major coaches who filled the AdventHealth Arena floor at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this week for the event. And Magwood made sure those coaches took note of his play.

Across nine games at the event, Magwood was among the camp’s leaders in points (17.0 per game) and assists (3.4).

“I feel like (my game) fits great because I can pass, I can score, I can play defense,” Magwood said. “I can really jell with everybody.”

Magwood cited the finishing ability of Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and the shot creation ability of Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard when asked about influences he takes from NBA players.

From spending time in the gym working on an array of offensive moves once he gets two feet in the paint — from hitting turnaround fadeaways to kicking the ball out to open shooters — Magwood is focused on continuing to expand his already potent offensive game.

Directly following the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Magwood reported a scholarship offer from Wake Forest. This marked the latest in a growing list of scholarship offers for the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Magwood, who is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 80 overall player in the 2025 recruiting class.

His offer list also includes the likes of Alabama, Arizona State, Georgia, Illinois, LSU and Mississippi State, in addition to Louisville and Wake Forest.

Magwood singled out Georgia, Georgia Tech and West Virginia when providing an update on his recruitment to reporters at the event.

Kaden Magwood could be hometown recruit for Pat Kelsey at Louisville

While he no longer plays high school basketball in the commonwealth, Magwood was one of only two players at the NBPA Top 100 Camp from Kentucky, along with four-star center Malachi Moreno (a Kentucky and Louisville recruit who plays at Georgetown’s Great Crossing High School).

Zoom out even further, and Magwood is part of a strong group of 2025 recruits that can all trace their origins to Kentucky.

This group of commonwealth natives who are poised to take the college basketball world by storm also includes five-star combo guard Jasper Johnson (a former Woodford County star) and three-star power forward EJ Walker (who plays at Lloyd Memorial in Erlanger and recently committed to South Carolina).

“It’s crazy because I never thought I was going to go to Oak Hill. It was just a very surprising thing that my dad told me I was going to Oak Hill,” Magwood said when reflecting on his move away from Western, where he played as a freshman during the 2021-22 season.

“So thinking about that, and how much I’ve grown as a player, and a person, is just crazy. On and off the court, I’ve grown. I’m a leader on and off the court. It’s crazy to think about.”

Magwood will now try to continue his growth at Combine Academy — the school’s basketball team plays in the Overtime Elite league under the Blue Checks name — to close his high school career. Combine Academy was the same school attended by Trentyn Flowers, the five-star class of 2023 recruit who signed with Louisville but abruptly left U of L without playing for the Cardinals to turn professional in the National Basketball League in Australia.

Magwood said obtaining “a pro mindset” is what he hopes to get out of the move to Combine Academy.

“Me waking up, working out, going to class, working out again and just all around being a pro,” he said.

Several other class of 2025 prospects (in addition to Magwood and Moreno) at the NBPA Top 100 Camp either earned scholarship offers from the Cardinals this week or already held them prior to the event: This group includes five-star shooting guard Brayden Burries, four-star combo guards Davion Hannah and Acaden Lewis, four-star small forward London Jemison and four-star center Chris Cenac Jr. (who picked up a UK scholarship offer this week and was named the MVP of the NBPA Top 100 Camp).

But Magwood is uniquely positioned among this group to be a headline-making recruit for Kelsey and the Louisville program because of both Magwood’s elite scoring ability and his status as a hometown hero.

“I’m bringing that dog mentality,” Magwood said of his on-court approach. “I feel like I’m a dog. And it’s just me showing everybody else that ‘I’m him.’”

Class of 2025 recruit Kaden Magwood began his high school career in Louisville playing at Western High School. The four-star guard prospect will play his final high school season at North Carolina’s Combine Academy.
Class of 2025 recruit Kaden Magwood began his high school career in Louisville playing at Western High School. The four-star guard prospect will play his final high school season at North Carolina’s Combine Academy.

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