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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: D.J. Jeffries firm with UK as he tries convincing James Wiseman to join him

D.J. Jeffries knows he’ll be at Kentucky, and he’s working to get James Wiseman there too.

Courtside Films and USA Basketball

The Kentucky Wildcats are off to a fast start in the Class of 2019 thanks to the pledge of D.J. Jeffries.

While Ashton Hagans is still technically a 2019 commit, he’s expected to reclass and move into 2018. There’s also Tyrese Maxey likely picking UK soon, but he too is expected to move into 2018.

That means UK’s only 2019 commit going into the summer is probably going to be Jeffries, who’s ready to become a leader in this class and get others to join him in Lexington.

However, there’s going to be speculation that Jeffries could flip to Memphis, where former AAU coach Penny Hardaway is now running the show. During the first Nike EYBL session in Dallas, Jeffries admitted that he would listen to Penny.

But at this weekend’s Nike EYBL session in Indianapolis, Jeffries said Penny won’t be able to sway him toward Memphis, despite all the Penny Mania engulfing the city.

“It’s crazy. I hear it and stuff, but I just try to ignore it, because I know I’m going to be at Kentucky,” Jeffries told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I hope the best for Penny. It’s not going to sway me. I’m gonna stay at Kentucky.”

Jeffries also said he’s working to get AAU teammate and No. 1 recruit James Wiseman to UK.

“I am trying to work on James,” Jeffries said. “It might be his dream school, because you know, Coach Cal knows what’s best for kids. He’s a top player, he wants to go one-and-done, and Cal’s got a good system to do that, so I think it’s somewhere he would want to go.”

While Jeffries is ready to be at UK, getting Wiseman there with him will prove to be a major challenge. Memphis has gotten all the buzz recently regarding Wiseman, so much that several recruiting experts are picking the Tigers in this battle.

The good news is Wiseman recently said he wants to play with UK commit Ashton Hagans and potential UK commit Tyrese Maxey in college. Problem is, one or both of them could be off to the NBA in 2019 if they play college basketball in 2018-19, though I think one of them would end up returning for a sophomore season.

And while it’s nice to think Wiseman could reclassify into 2018, it continues to look like that isn’t an option. Part of that is due to Wiseman’s age, as he won’t be eligible for the 2019 draft even if he does play college basketball next season.

While the thought of Wiseman for two years in college is scary, it sounds like he’s intent on playing out his senior year of high school basketball. His family lives in Memphis, and his sister plays at the University of Memphis, which is all the more reason to think they’ll have an edge in this recruitment.

But John Calipari has faced longer odds before and come out on top for elite recruits. Can he do it again with the best player in 2019?