Five-star center James Wiseman will make his college announcement on Tuesday at noon on ESPN’s SportsCenter. The timing doesn’t seem like great news for the Cats, as Memphis has had the majority of the momentum for most of the fall.
The No. 1 prospect in the nation James Wiseman (@BigTicket_JW) will make his college decision LIVE on Tuesday in the noon ET SportsCenter on ESPN. His final five schools are Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Vanderbilt. pic.twitter.com/5TBbJCw3Fk
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) November 19, 2018
Here are the pros and cons for UK’s chances with the No. 1 player in the 247 Sports 2019 rankings:
- 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels still is currently predicting Kentucky. Daniels has said that the UK picks comes off a piece of intel months ago, and he hadn’t heard anything lately to make him change his pick. While Memphis has had momentum for months Daniels hasn’t changed his pick, but he appears to be the only national analyst that has Wiseman going anywhere besides Memphis.
- Kentucky has recruited Wiseman harder than any recruit in the Calipari era. It doesn’t mean that Wiseman ends up at UK, but Kentucky was considered the heavy favorite for the majority of Wiseman’s recruitment. Only the last few months has momentum swung to Memphis.
- Wiseman’s family has made it a point to shoot down the “Memphis leads” narrative. His sister Tweeted me. His mom spoke with Daniels saying that the Tigers aren’t the leader. The family has tried to say for months that it isn’t a foregone conclusion that Wiseman ends up at Memphis. Maybe they were trying to extinguish the smoke that had everyone thinking Memphis, or maybe they genuinely wanted folks to know that Memphis may not be the choice. UK fans should hope for the latter, although logic points to the former.
- Kentucky has to land an elite big at some point, right?
- Memphis has had all the momentum for months.
- When thinking about attending a prep school Wiseman elected to stay in Memphis where everyone is pushing him towards Memphis. Tigers’ coach Penny Hardaway still has several of “his guys” associated with Wiseman’s AAU team and his high school.
- The plan was for Wiseman to announce in the spring and be one of the last players to commit. This appeared to be an easy way to slip out of Memphis without too much negative attention. Commit and leave. Then we heard that he may commit in December or January, but wouldn’t sign early. Now he’s committing and apparently signing early. If the pick is Memphis this will allow time for Penny to use Wiseman as a recruiting tool for other top targets. Memphis is still going after five-star forward Matthew Hurt and several other top 100 players. Had Wiseman waited until the spring and still picked Memphis, it wouldn’t have helped Memphis on the recruiting trail.
- Memphis received the last official visit (after initially not having plans to officially visit Memphis) and since that visit Wiseman has unofficially visited Memphis again and he went and watched D.J. Jeffries, his AAU friend and now Tigers commit.
- Nearly every other national recruiting analyst is picking Wiseman to Memphis.
- It doesn’t seem like a wise decision for him to commit to UK and then having to play/live in Memphis for the next several months. Wiseman wouldn’t be threatened or in danger, but he would hear negative comments for a long time.
What I’m hearing:
As you can see the cons definitely seem to outweigh the pros in Wiseman’s recruitment. Things don’t look good and I was planning on touching on this on the Insider Notes before news broke today, but people close to UK haven’t been commenting on Wiseman over the last week, and there’s been very little said for a couple weeks prior. I will note that generally folks close to UK will leak when they don’t feel like they’re getting someone, and that hasn’t happened, but there hasn’t been much optimism. Before we were hearing the UK felt like they were still in it, they weren’t giving up, anything can happen, they’ve put in the most work and they’re proud of the work they’ve put into the recruitment. Now there’s nothing. That’s not completely unusual during the season, but make of that what you will.
All the signs point towards Memphis and that’s my pick.