James Wiseman, No. 1 Basketball Recruit, Commits to Memphis

James Wiseman
James Wiseman #23 of Team Ramsey warms up before the game against Team Stanley during the SLAM Summer Classic 2018 at Dyckman Park on August 18, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Top-ranked basketball prospect James Wiseman announced his commitment to Memphis on Tuesday.

Wiseman revealed his decision on ESPN's "SportsCenter," bringing out a unicorn wearing the Memphis logo, a nod to his nickname for having a unique combination of size and ability.

The 7-foot, 210-pound Memphis native picked his hometown Tigers over Kentucky, who was also a finalist prior to Tuesday's announcement. Wiseman was initially considered a strong Wildcats lean early in his recruitment, but Memphis made him its top priority in the 2019 national recruiting cycle following the hiring of head coach and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway last March.

Hardaway coached Wiseman as part of the Team Penny/Bluff City Legends AAU program, as well as in high school at East en route to a Tennessee state championship. The former NBA All-Star immediately made the 5-star prospect his top target in 2019, hosting several visits to the University of Memphis' campus this fall, as well as an additional visit at the beginning of this month.

Wiseman ranks as the consensus No. 1 player for the 2019 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite, which cummulates rankings from the top recruiting websites.

The senior averaged 15.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks during a strong campaign on the Nike EYBL circuit with the Bluff City Legends, which boosted his ESPN Recruiting ranking to No. 1 overall.

"James Wiseman is one of the few players in the class who shows the ability to have dominating performances on both ends of the floor," ESPN's national recruiting director Paul Biancardi said. "His physical tools are elite by NBA standards, as he owns a 7-foot-6 wingspan and a 9-foot-3½-inch standing reach. The combination of his physical measurables, finishing ability and shot-blocking talent makes him No. 1 in the class."

ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony already projected Wiseman as the No. 1 pick in his 2020 NBA mock draft last month.

"In the paint, Wiseman utilizes his signature move, a left-handed jump-hook over his right shoulder," Biancardi said. "His frame and shot-blocking talent reminds me of Jermaine O'Neal at the same stage. He runs the floor with ease like a young Sam Perkins."

Wiseman is the Tigers' the third commitment for the 2019 national recruiting cycle, joining five-star forward D.J. Jeffries and four-star center Malcolm Dandridge. Jeffries, who also played for Hardaway's AAU team, committed to Memphis last month after decommitting from Kentucky in July.

The Tigers are also still in consideration for five-star forwards Trendon Watford and Precious Achiuwa, both of whom have already visited the UM campus.