University of Kansas

Elite hoops recruit James Wiseman chooses Memphis over KU, other finalists

KU recruit James Wiseman, a 7-foot 210-pound big man, high fives with Jayhawks fans during Friday’s Late Night in the Phog at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU recruit James Wiseman, a 7-foot 210-pound big man, high fives with Jayhawks fans during Friday’s Late Night in the Phog at Allen Fieldhouse. rsugg@kcstar.com

James Wiseman, a 7-foot senior center from Memphis East High School who is ranked No. 2 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, on Tuesday committed to play basketball at Memphis.

Wiseman chose the Tigers over finalists Kansas, Kentucky, Florida State and Vanderbilt.

At one time he also had Arizona, North Carolina and Texas on his list of schools.

Wiseman averaged 15. 2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 21 games this past spring and summer for the Bluff City Legends AAU program.

Wiseman, who attended KU’s Late Night in the Phog as part of an official visit, played for current Memphis coach Penny Hardaway last year at Memphis East. Hardaway is first-year head coach at Memphis.

“Wiseman is a highly talented youngster with a world of upside. The southpaw has good size, extremely long arms (measured 7-4 1/2 wingspan), excellent mobility for his size and a strong foundation of skill at an early age,” reads Wiseman’s scouting report at ESPN.com.

“He shows touch, not just around the rim, but facing the basket out to the three-point line. Defensively, he has the potential to be very versatile as he can move his feet on the perimeter and get off his feet quickly around the rim. A long and athletic lefty with long arms, agile feet, and early signs of skill, Wiseman is loaded with upside and a very exciting long-term prospect.”

Noted Evan Daniels of 247sports.com: “Wiseman is 7-feet tall with a 7-6 wingspan. His standing reach of 9-3 1/2 is respectable, although not close to NBA centers like Rudy Gobert, Mohamed Bamba and JaVale McGee. Wiseman excels running the floor, moves fluidly and is an impressive all-around athlete. He consistently beats his man to the other end for easy baskets. He can go over his left shoulder for jump hooks, but also has developed his jump shot, especially from mid-range. Defensively, Wiseman slides his feet well. He is smart and has good instincts. He should be a better rebounder and shot blocker, although he’s not bad in either area. Developing his off hand for hook shots is another area for improvement. Wiseman is currently tracking as a lottery pick.”

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Gary Bedore

Gary Bedore covers University of Kansas athletics for The Star.

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