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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: James Wiseman shoots down reclassification rumors

It looks like James Wiseman won’t be at UK next season, and he may have a chance to skip college altogether.


James Wiseman is ranked by many recruiting outlets as the top player in the 2019 basketball class. The power forward from Memphis, TN has received scholarship offers from pretty much everybody, including the Kentucky Wildcats.

Wiseman is playing in Kentucky this week at the Marshall County Hoop Fest, and has played as well as advertised.

In the last few weeks, rumors have started swirling that he could reclassify to the 2018 class and enroll next fall. He addressed those rumors in Marshall County this week. “It’s not an option,” Wiseman told the Herald-Leader on Sunday. “I’m just going to stay in 2019.”

This also could mean that Wiseman has a chance to skip college altogether, as the NBA abolishing the one-and-done rule could begin in 2019. That means, if Wiseman remains a 2019 recruit, there’s a chance he could skip college and go straight to the pros in the 2019 NBA Draft, according to The Ringer.

Five NBA team executives I spoke with expect the 2019 draft will allow high schoolers. “Sooner than later,” said one executive. “Everyone’s on the same page.” If that happens, it’s possible the 2019 draft class—which already includes R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Bol Bol—will also feature top talent scheduled to be draftable in 2020, such as James Wiseman and Charles Bassey.

Reclassifying to an earlier class has been common in recent years. Marvin Bagley and R.J. Barrett at Duke and former Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns are the most notable. However, most of these guys were still 18 before beginning their college careers. They were older than most in their class, and they really just changed to the class they should have been in all along.

So how did he rumors get started about Wiseman reclassifying?

“I really don’t know,” Wiseman said. “I have no clue. I just looked on Twitter and they were talking about that. It was crazy.”

While it is still early in the recruiting process, most believe Wiseman is a Kentucky lean. Joel Justus is apparently bringing his recruiting A-game to the top guy in the 2019 class.

The 2018 class is pretty small overall, both for the number of recruits committed to Kentucky and the actual stature of the players. There are very few talented bigs coming into college basketball next year, and it would be great for the Wildcats if Wiseman did reclassify and fill that need for Kentucky.

Alas, it looks like it will be 2019 before we see the star power forward playing college basketball. Perhaps this video will hold you over until he commits to a school.

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