MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The nation’s top men’s basketball prospect announced his commitment to the University of Memphis.
East High School’s James Wiseman chose Memphis over Kentucky, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Florida State.
Wiseman’s decision was likely largely influenced by Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway, who coached Wiseman to a state championship at East High.
“Penny was my mentor, and he can teach me the game of the NBA,” Wiseman said. “In terms of getting me NBA ready, and Mike Miller and Sam Mitchell they got a lot of experience as far as the NBA. I feel like it will get me ready for the NBA.”
The 6′11 forward is the top-ranked prospect in the 2019 class by 247Sports and ESPN and the second-ranked prospect by Rivals. Wiseman is the highest ranked Memphis commit in the modern recruiting ranking era.
His commitment moves Memphis to #11 in the 24/7 Sports team recruiting rankings.
When Penny Hardaway left his head coaching role at East High School last spring to take over the top job at the University of Memphis, fans' biggest dream became a possibility.
Overnight, the Tigers went from an average program to the top destination for the nation's #1 player, James Wiseman.
On Tuesday, with the whole country watching on ESPN, that dream is now real.
“Penny was my mentor, and he can teach me the game of the NBA,” Wiseman said. “In terms of getting me NBA ready.”
Wiseman played for Penny in AAU basketball, which is one of the reasons he moved from Nashville to Memphis.
He went on to win a state title with Penny at East High.
Wiseman says Penny's NBA pedigree, combined with his assistant coaches Mike Miller and Sam Mitchell, ultimately made the U of M his number one choice over blue blood programs like Kentucky and Kansas.
Not to mention, Wiseman's former high school teammate is a Tiger.
"Memphis already has Alex Lomax and Tyler Harris, and I'm trying to recruit other top ranked players to Memphis,” Wiseman said.
With Wiseman’s commitment, Penny Hardaway has now gotten Every single Memphis area prospect he’s gone after.
That list includes Wiseman's current teammate at East Malcolm Dandrige and Olive Branch's DJ Jeffries.
"Memphis basketball is on the rise, so for me just be able to commit to the University of Memphis is going to bring it up tremendously,” Wiseman said.