I kinda hate when it seems like the stars are aligning for a big commitment. Hopes get high, and sometimes hearts get broken. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t analyze the puzzle before it’s assembled.
Tyrese Maxey’s decision to remain in the 2019 class is a positive for a couple of reasons. Next year’s backcourt was already oversaturated with quality guards, and Maxey’s services would’ve gone underappreciated. But guaranteeing Maxey’s presence on the 2019 roster also serves as yet another beacon for number one overall recruit James Wiseman.
Wiseman’s wish list of college teammates already includes two UK pledges:
Asked if there are any 2019 recruits he’d love to play with in college, prized big man James Wiseman did not hesitate: “I’d say Tyrese Maxey,” he said. “And I’d say Ashton Hagans.”
Hagans, the no. 1 overall point guard in the class, could still reclassify, but as of now, he’s slated to join the Wildcat roster in 2019. So that’s two boxes checked in favor of UK with regards to Wiseman’s interests.
There’s also the matter of D.J. Jeffries, 4-star small forward and former AAU teammate of James Wiseman, who is also committed to the Cats. Jeffries reiterated his commitment in the wake of Penny Hardaway’s hiring at Memphis, which is increasingly seeming like the Tigers’ only selling point for Wiseman.
Jeffries understands Wiseman’s fondness for Hardaway, as they both played under him together on the AAU circuit, but that’s not gonna stop D.J. from trying to woo his former teammate to Lexington:
“I haven’t started yet but I’ll comment on his Instagram posts every now and then,” Jeffries said. “I’m going to give him a little time to think about it and then I’m going to start messing with him this summer.”
This recruiting battle is far from over, but at this point, there’s really no more for Coach Cal to do other than lay out the red carpet for Wiseman. If Ashton Hagans decides to remain in 2019, Wiseman’s ideal lineup will already be in place, with only a 6’10” hole left to fill.
That would be one incredibly disappointing puzzle piece to lose.