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James Wiseman criticized by CBS writer; “overmatched” against other great bigs

Some unexpected harsh criticism of the top-ranked player in 2019. Is it justified?


James Wiseman has been ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 class off and on for the last two years. His athleticism and shot-making ability resting on his 6’11” frame has been hard to miss.

But, Matt Norlander of CBS was not very impressed with Wiseman at the Peach Jam over the weekend.

Wiseman certainly did not have a great tournament, statistically. He averaged 16 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game as his Bluff City Legends team was eliminated during pool play. Even more than his numbers, Norlander was disappointed in Wiseman’s performance in 1-on-1 matchups.

“But there were times when he was overmatched, like against his biggest big man rival, Vernon Carey Jr., or while getting beat in the post by 7-footer Hunter Dickinson, a tremendous 2020 prospect out of Hyattsville, Maryland,” Norlander wrote.

Carey has been in the conversation as potentially the best player in the class for a while now, so him getting the better of Wiseman in a single game should not be a major concern.

After all, John Calipari has high hopes of landing both big men.

Perhaps the greater concern here is how Wiseman’s inability to dominate a game reflects on the 2019 class as a whole. The 2018 recruiting class has long been looked at as a big drop-off in quality from previous years, and it is starting to look like 2019 will further that decline.

“That Wiseman’s been sitting atop the rankings as the No. 1 player for two years says something (not flattering) about the Class of 2019,” Norlander continued. “In talking to coaches and recruitniks on hand in North Augusta, the scuttlebutt is how Wiseman might be the weakest No. 1, if he keeps that position, in the past 7-10 years or more.”

If you were to remove the name of the player for Norlander’s post, it would seem as though he is describing former Kentucky Wildcat Skal Labissiere. Skal ended up being No. 2 in his class behind Ben Simmons, but was largely disappointing once he arrived on campus.

If Wiseman is truly starting to fall behind his peers in an already underwhelming class, then perhaps that would be cause of concern.

Norlander isn’t the only reporter that thinks Wiseman may not quite live up to the hype in college. Jeff Goodman thinks Wiseman could turn into a better NBA player than what we’ll see from him in college.

Still, given Calipari’s persistent pursuit of Wiseman, I find it difficult to lose all hope because of a few negative reviews.

Check out his highlights from this weekend:

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