On October 17, 2017, 247 Sports recruiting analyst Evan Daniels logged his official prediction for 2019’s No. 1 recruit James Wiseman. At the time, Wiseman seemed destined for Kentucky and Daniels agreed. He rarely makes an official prediction before he is fairly certain.
On March 20, 2018, Wiseman’s high school and AAU coach, Penny Hardaway, was hired to coach at the University of Memphis. From that point on, everything seemed to change in Wiseman’s recruitment. That momentum culminated in Evan Daniels changing his pick from the Kentucky Wildcats to the Memphis Tigers on Monday.
On Tuesday, following Wiseman’s announcement, Memphis East is scheduled to play against Olive Branch, which is home to current Memphis pledge DJ Jeffries. He’ll step on the court with high school teammate and Memphis pledge Malcolm Dandridge. Memphis has Wiseman surrounded.
Wiseman decided that his official announcement would come on Tuesday at noon. The tea leaves for the last month have been that a Memphis commitment has been eminent. Boosters have allegedly heard from the coaching staff that Wiseman coming to Memphis was a done deal.
Wiseman is a player that seemed to be Kentucky-bound since he debuted as the No. 1 recruit in the country. Coach John Calipari had been focusing his recruitment efforts on building around Wiseman as the centerpiece of the class. Unless Daniels is wrong, and he rarely is, Calipari will need to go back to the drawing board in a hurry.
When Wiseman puts that Memphis had on this Tuesday, the speculation about Calipari losing his touch will explode. Not only is he losing players to Duke and Kansas, but now to Memphis.
Given, Penny has only coached a small number of superstars and it is unlikely Memphis will be a constant on top of the recruiting charts. But for today, this week, and this year, John Calipari finds himself further down on the class rankings than anyone ever imagined.
Will he be able to throw a few Hail Marys and salvage the 2019 class? Only time will tell.