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UK Basketball Recruiting: James Wiseman tops ESPN recruit database

And a look at what former NBA players he compares to.

The Class of 2019 is headlined by 6-11 power forward James Wiseman.

Out of Memphis, Tennessee, Wiseman has emerged as the focal point for John Calipari and his staff. ESPN has Wiseman ranked first in their latest 2019 recruiting database, and Vernon Carey Jr., another player UK has offered, is at second.

Wiseman is an extremely versatile big man that is ready to play college basketball right now and will be more than ready for the NBA in a year. His wingspan is over 7’ and he is not just limited to under the basket scoring. He can step out and shoot a soft jumper.

Here are Paul Biancardi’s thoughts on Wiseman:

The next star in the game

James Wiseman, the new No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2019 (after RJ Barrett reclassified), owns a good frame at 6-foot-11, 216 pounds and moves extremely well for his age. His production level continues to evolve, especially protecting the basket on defense and finishing at the rim on offense with length and power. He is now a dominating force in each contest and is already being courted by every major program in the country. As his signature jump hook develops the NBA will soon know his name.

In a separate article, Biancardi compared Wiseman to former NBA big men Jermaine O’Neal and Sam Perkins.

If John Calipari had it his way, Wiseman would reclassify to the 2018 class. With Cal missing on Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cameron Reddish, he doesn’t have a big in the 2018 recruiting class. With Cal whiffing on the top three, Wiseman would be the splash in recruiting that Calipari desperately needs right now.

Where would he be ranked in the 2018 class? That’s tough to say, as the top 5 are extremely talented, but if I was pressed to guess I would put him in the top 5.

But is reclassifying even an option? Back in December, Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald Leader asked Wiseman if he would reclassify and his answer was emphatic: “It’s not an option,” Wiseman said at the Marshall County Hoopfest. “I’m just going to stay in 2019.”

Super talented high school athletes change their minds all of the time so I wouldn’t count out the possibility of him moving up to 2018. But for now, it seems like John Calipari is going to focus on other options, primarily E.J. Montgomery, or perhaps a grad transfer and focus on Wiseman for 2019.

Kentucky is seen as the early leader but we have all seen how that has turned out recently. It’s time for Cal to turn up the heat.

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