While UK looked like the heavy favorite for James Wiseman early on, Memphis is now a major threat for him.
Thanks to Penny Hardaway becoming the Tigers’ head coach, there’s a real chance the No. 1 player in 2019 actually picks the Tigers over a blue-blood power like UK. Frankly, everyone in the country would love to have the talented center from Memphis East, but most schools have ceded Wiseman to either Memphis or UK.
But while most of the recent buzz has been toward Memphis, UK appears to have reclaimed some momentum. Kyle Tucker of SEC Country polled some of the top recruiting experts on which 2019 recruits were most likely to pick UK.
Aa you can imagine, Tyrese Maxey was everyone’s most likely commit for UK. Maxey could pop any day now for the Cats, so of course he’s No. in this poll.
The real news is that James Wiseman came in as the second-most likely to pick UK among three of the four recruiting experts.
That includes 247 recruiting ace Andrew Slater, who’s arguably the best in the business. He likes UK’s chances, but also acknowledged Memphis being a legitimate contender.
Kentucky has a very good chance at Wiseman, but I think you have to view Memphis as a major threat, despite the differences in track record. It’s a matter of childhood hero and family friend versus the program he grew up rooting for.
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello was among those who think UK is in better shape for Wiseman than they’re getting credit for. He actually said as much in a recent post at ESPN while breaking down the recruitments of the top 2019 prospects.
Despite Memphis hiring Hardaway, the buzz lately has centered around Kentucky -- but there’s still a long way to go.
The one expert that isn’t high on UK’s chances for Wiseman is 247 recruiting director Jerry Meyer. He was the last person to log a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Memphis for Wiseman. He had originally picked UK, but now, he really feels like Memphis will prove to be too much to pass on.
All said, this report was actually good news for UK, as it appeared Memphis had really come a long way in this recruitment recently, perhaps even surging into the lead.
Be sure to read the entire piece for insight into who else UK is in good shape for in 2019.