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REACTION: Here’s what we’re hearing regarding James Wiseman

Photo: Jon Lopez / Nike

Photo: Jon Lopez / Nike

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.

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.


Article written by TJ Walker

42 Comments for REACTION: Here’s what we’re hearing regarding James Wiseman

  1. BigolBlue
    11:23 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Cal cant beat K or Penny

    • UKCatAttack
      11:33 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Penny was hired by Memphis to get Wiseman. Don’t fault Cal if he misses on this one.

    • BTownUKFan
      11:38 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Cal isn’t getting beaten by Krysjetski. Kenny Payne was getting beaten by Capel. We’ll see if puke can hold the momentum the next couple of years.
      My thoughts on Wiseman…if he goes to Memphis he is an idiot and I don’t want him in a Kentucky jersey anyway. Penny has zero success preparing kids for the NBA, I don’t need to tell you what Cal has done but the fact Booker and Shai went from unplanned one and done to first round says all you need to say bout Cal’s program.

    • Iamheasyouarehe
      11:58 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Totally agree with Btown, Cal won’t compete with the duffel bag drop, we are classier than that.

    • mashburnfan1
      12:51 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      BTown…how quickly you forget all the guys that went from top 20 projected picks while in high school {if allowed} to lower picks, 2nd round picks, 2-3 year players etc. Twins, POY, Skal, Bricksoe, SKJ, Richards {#1 rated center to a nothing}, PJ and more. Cal does not PUT anybody in the league in the few months he has them. He recruited NBA ready players, or ones he thought were NBA ready. One reason is some schools stayed away from that, not wanting to recruit like that every year. Now they are doing this and he is not getting all the NBA ready guys. I guess we can now say coach Krebhsyfbvhstieygdty is great at developing NBA guys since he will likely have the top 2 picks and a 3rd go in top 10. NO, he simply got the most ready guys to go to dUKe this year. At the same time Cal missed again and his group is not even that good at the college level, yes they are still better than most teams we will play but we are not that good. Luckily college basketball as a whole is down.

    • Skooms
      4:36 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Big Ol Blue Douchebag strikes again!

  2. HashtagNoseWhistle
    11:28 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Only reason anyone chooses Memphis over UK is $$$

    • mashburnfan1
      12:58 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      or he has seen how bad our team has been the last few years.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:20 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      How bad our team as been the last few years? You mean the team that has made it to a championship game, a FF, and an Elite 8 3 out of the last 4 years? Um…ok.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:23 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      oops, Sweet Sixteen and not Elite 8, my bad. They aren’t championships but I think most people would hardly say that’s bad.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:24 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      and what has Memphis done that’s better than what we’ve done? that comment just makes zero sense, mashburn

    • bigblue2284
      1:26 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      I think what Mash is say is the boring awful basketball that consumed most of our last two seasons. I love basketball I watch it at every level butI get bored watching this team.

    • Memphis UK Cat
      4:32 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Stop with the paying players crap. I play golf with Penny at our country club and know World Wide Wes as well. Penny is funny and has a great personality. He will be tough to recruit against in his backyard in the future.

      The whole weight of the city is on this kid and I think he does go to Memphis.

      I have two kids going to this dam n school and I hate to write the checks.

      Go Big Blue!

    • Skooms
      4:35 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      No, Mash is a Pitino fan, and longs for those Pitino glory days. Him and BigOle Blue Douche bag bleed RED not blue. It’s pretty freaking obvious they’re troll UofL fans yet for some reason are too big of sissies to admit it.

    11:30 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

    The crickets coming out of Lexington plus the sudden commitment to Memphis tells me that Cal hit the brakes on this recruitment weeks ago when “money” talk started circulating.

    • CATandMONKEY
      11:52 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

      What sudden commitment?

    • bigblue2284
      1:30 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      You don’t know anything for a fact. Because a player chooses to stay home doesn’t mean he was paid. Maybe UK wasn’t a good fit?

  4. ky1988
    11:37 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

    There is chance if he goes to Memphis he might not be able to play.

    • bigblue2284
      1:32 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Based on what? Your inside knowledge? UK can lose a recruit without it being because he was paid.

  5. UKantstopus
    11:39 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Let’s be honest, a long standing relationship with Wiseman, may win out in the end… we want all our in state players to stay… win some and lose some… we will be fine… I will appreciate the ones who come and not fret about the ones who dont…

  6. Alleykat16
    11:52 am November 19, 2018 Permalink

    I agree 100% with UKantstopus if they come here we are behind them and if they don’t it’s ok too. But the ones that do come here we are with them 100%.

  7. VirginiaCat
    12:03 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    That swishing noise is the sound of Cal swinging and missing yet again on a top recruit. The humiliating loss to Duke certainly didn’t help. Without top talent, it’s a struggle for Cal. It is one step forward and two steps back, with a lot of ugly basketball and spinning along the way. As fans, we tolerate an ugly regular season with hopes that Cal can pull a rabbit out of the hat at tournament time. That is followed by a mass exodus of players in the post season, some of whom have no business entering the draft. The cycle starts anew the following season.

    • big cat
      12:54 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      I agree….and to be honest I have lost interest.It just seems to tire on me…no tradition any more.I too believe Cal may have lok st his edge. I might perk up come March.

    • Catscats23
      1:18 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Yeap the one-and-done fatigue is for real. My interest in UK basketball is at an all time low point and it’s really sad.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:26 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      So you’ve lost interest but it might perk up in March? lol badnwagon at it’s finest right here. Only want to watch when winning, loses interest while we’re learning.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:26 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink


    • bigbluehank
      1:30 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Well put, VirginiaCat. “We are so young…we aren’t supposed to be good in November/December…we’re still learning how to play defense…” Cal pushes the same narrative each season, and it seems some fans are getting tired of it. Why does he think he can get away with putting a subpar product on the floor until February, hope for everything to suddenly gel in the tournament, and restart the process the following year?

    • bigblue2284
      1:33 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      Completely agree. Cal doesn’t get the top 5 talent anymore he gets top 25. The difference in the talent is reflective of his success over the last three years.

    • bigbluehank
      1:48 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      I am more than happy getting the top 25 talent. What I’m not happy with is Cal pushing kids out for the NBA when they aren’t ready, just so he can turn around and round up another top recruiting class. It’s almost like he’d rather have a top class than a title.

    • big cat
      1:52 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      I call it watered down hype, not bandwagon. This one and done business has seriously eroded college basketball.You assume also I will be cheering for UK in March…nope.

  8. Kat4Life
    12:19 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    You don’t have to be Nostradamus to see where this is heading. This holiday season will only involve three wisemen, not four.

    • binarysolo
      12:40 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      This comment wins the day.

    • bigbluehank
      1:40 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      The most disappointing part of this recruitment is how Cal is pitching him to become “the next #1 pick from Kentucky.” Cal doesn’t even bother pushing team success or the chance at a title. I understand that this is the way top players think nowadays, but perhaps this method of recruiting is one of the reasons Cal has struggled the last several seasons.

  9. binarysolo
    12:40 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Wiseman to Memphis, and I guarantee we’ll see the Tigers in the same bracket in the 2020 NCAA tournament.

  10. Tom Bombadil
    12:59 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    These things happen, Penny Hardaway has built a deep relationship with them let’s see how he does on the class after this and the next couple of years. If the perfect storm for Penny Hardaway to go from coaching them in high school for two or three years on the summer AAU circuit and then taking the Memphis job where they live.

  11. DelrayCat
    2:02 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    The near constant negativity and Cal bashing by fans takes it’s toll.

  12. VirginiaCat
    3:32 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    I have noticed that Cal is quick to take blame, i.e., “…it’s on me.” That’s fine, but when you continue to make those same mistakes, it’s a problem. I would like Cal to not only take blame when blame is due, but also say what he has learned and how he plans to rectify those mistakes in the future. Good coaches endeavor to be better coaches. Good coaches take what is given them and make the most of the potential that is there. I think that Cal is stubborn and has only one way of coaching. He does not employ self analysis and seek to adapt.

  13. ziplock
    3:56 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Wiseman go schooled by Isaiah Stewart and Oscar Tshiebwe in AAU so unless we need another Skal we don’t need him

  14. JASUN74
    4:28 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Never in my years as a Ky Wildcat fan, have I been as disappointed as I am with the fan base right now. Im ashamed of you all. The one on here defending Cal and the cats, thank you. But you other knuckleheads are just awful. Wiseman has every right to go , where he will be happy. I’m sure UK would be a great fit for any kid, with every thing they offer, this kid if from Memphis Tennessee and of he wants to stay home then that’s fine with me. We always get a great group of kids and I’m going to support everyone of them. Shame,
    Shame, shame.

    • JASUN74
      4:30 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

      After reading back what I wrote, I may be more ashamed of myself. Lol. Need to proof read before sending. Hahaha

  15. justgettingstartedbro
    4:45 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    Great comment JASUN74. I agree as well. I’m proud of the players we have and I think they are actually fun to watch. They’re all still a bunch of kids who wanted to be here. That’s all we could ask for. (They want #9 just as much as we do!)

  16. VirginiaCat
    5:36 pm November 19, 2018 Permalink

    There is a big difference between constructive criticism and disloyalty. The former can be a good vehicle to bring about meaningful change.