John Calipari and his staff are working hard to keep James Wiseman out of Penny Hardaway’s grasp.
For much of Wiseman’s recruitment, UK has been the heavy favorite for the No. 1 recruit in 2019. However, this offseason saw the Memphis Tigers hire Penny Hardaway, who’s coached Wiseman at Memphis East, as well as his AAU Team, Team Penny.
That has Memphis getting all the buzz in this recruitment, but mama says not so fast.
In an interview with SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker, Wiseman’s mother, Donzaleigh Artis, made it clear which school and coaching staff she’s favoring.
(John) Calipari and (Joel) Justus are “still my favorites,” his mother said. “They’re still my boys. They’re family people. They make us feel like family. If we come to play basketball there, we’re going to be family. Real family. And James is really big on that, so it makes a big difference.”
Artis went on to say she hopes to keep Wiseman at Memphis East for one more season and avoid reclassification. So for now, it appears Wiseman will be playing there for one more year.
I would also venture to guess Wiseman wants to wait until 2019 to join a college partly because he wants a year to see what Hardaway does at Memphis before deicing if he’ll stay home to play for him, or if the best move is to go with Calipari and UK.
Saying this, Wiseman could still change his mind this summer and decide he’s ready for college after the AAU circuit ends, then pick a school sometime around July or August, ala what Marvin Bagley did this past summer.
But for now, we should all just assume Wiseman will be at Memphis East when the 2018-19 hoops season begins.