Status: UK target
Power forward | 7-1 | 240
School: Memphis East
James Wiseman was the very first player from the class of 2019 to earn a UK scholarship offer, and he never relinquished his standing as the Cats’ top target.
The 7-footer — he was actually measured at 7-1 with a near 7-5 wingspan this past summer — arguably has more upside than any other player in the 2019 class, and that’s reflected in his position at the top of the national rankings.
His story is well known to those who follow UK recruiting. Wiseman started his high school career in his hometown of Nashville, moved to Memphis before his junior season to play for Penny Hardaway — his Nike league coach the previous summer — and teamed up with the former NBA star to help Memphis East win a state title during the 2017-18 season.
Hardaway left East to become the head coach of the Memphis Tigers, and Kentucky is primarily battling that program for Wiseman’s commitment. (Though Florida State, Kansas and Vanderbilt are all on Wiseman’s list of finalists, too, and he will take official visits to all five schools).
Wiseman has said that UK’s coaches have compared him to former Wildcats star Anthony Davis, who the recruit acknowledges is one of his favorite players and a pattern for his own game.
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Wiseman averaged 15.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game on the Nike circuit while playing for Bluff City Legends, the travel squad formerly known as Team Penny (and formerly led by Penny Hardaway).
James is that guy where you can kind of see it coming. The skill has improved quite a bit. He’s gotten bigger. He’s started to add some strength. He’s producing a little bit more consistently. And he’s not ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country by people because of strictly potential. He’s certainly done plenty of things and has a body of work to speak to him being ranked so highly.”
-Eric Bossi, Rivals.com analyst