The No. 1 recruit in the class of 2019 has been in the headlines quite a bit over the last few months. James Wiseman, a 7-foot big man out of Memphis, TN, has been dominating at the high school level, his recruitment has sparked a mini coaching rivalry, and there have been talks he may reclassify to the class of 2018.
In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein this afternoon, Wiseman confirmed what many of us already assumed: it’s a two-horse race in his recruitment.
“Memphis and Kentucky are most definitely my top two schools right now,” Wiseman said.
Yesterday afternoon, Rivals’ Krysten Peek reported that whispers are out there that the elite center is still contemplating a move to 2018.
And if Wiseman does make the jump, it likely wouldn’t be good news for Kentucky fans.
“There have been some rumors that Wiseman could possibly still reclassify to the 2018 class by the end of the summer. If that’s the case, Penny Hardaway and Memphis have a real shot in landing one of the top forwards in the class. I know Hardaway is close with Wiseman and although Kentucky is still in the race, if the reclassification rumors are true, Memphis could come out on top,” Peek said.
When asked about his recruitment this week, Wiseman said he plans on taking all five official visits this fall.
Wiseman has denied the jump on several occasions, though some felt it may have just been a way to participate at Peach Jam this week, similar to Marvin Bagley III last season. If he had announced a move to 2018 several months ago, he would have been ineligible to play in the popular event, and he has always felt his team had a legitimate shot to win.
Now that his AAU basketball season is coming to a close, we may be hearing a definitive decision either way sooner rather than later.
As for one current (and possibly future) teammate, DJ Jeffries hopes Wiseman stays in the class of 2019 to play with him at Kentucky. And if he joins, along with star center Vernon Carey Jr., the UK commit believes that has championship written all over it.
DJ Jeffries says the two main guys he's recruiting are James Wiseman and Vernon Carey. What would a Wiseman/Carey/Jeffries frontcourt at UK look like? "That's a championship," DJ says.
— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) July 13, 2018
Another 2019 Kentucky commit, Tyrese Maxey, also hopes he sticks with his original class and joins him in Lexington.
Tyrese Maxey says, @UKCoachCalipari has been kept it real throughout his recruitment.
And on James Wiseman's recruitment, "I hope it's Kentucky, but I honestly don't know. It's like a coin flip" pic.twitter.com/zY0pw84MFJ
— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) July 13, 2018
Check out Wiseman’s highlights from the EYBL season this year:
Come on down, big fella.