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Penny Hardaway says James Wiseman will enjoy having Kentucky fans at Sunday’s game

Penny Hardaway with Kentucky fan Marinel Larkin at Hoopfest Saturday. (Larry Vaught Photo)


What does coach Penny Hardaway hope fans at the Marshall County Hoopfest see Sunday when they watch Memphis East play?

“I hope they see the best defense every played in a game ever and we make every shot,” Hardaway, a former NBA star, said Saturday. “No really, we try to teach how to play together on both ends on offense and defense. You are hopefully going to see a high energy game and good defensive team that also runs the fast break.”

Memphis East will take on Aspire Academy of Louisville Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CST in a matchup that will feature two of the nation’s top juniors — 6-9 James Wiseman of Memphis East and 6-9 Charles Bassey of Aspire. Wiseman is the top rated player in the 2019 recruiting class while Bassey is a top five player.

Wiseman is a major Kentucky recruiting target. Bassey has numerous offers, but not one from Kentucky.

“James is an outside-player. Highly skilled. He runs the floor very well and is a really good player,” Hardaway said. “He will enjoy it if a bunch of Kentucky fans are at the game. That will give him more energy.”

What does he do best?

“He does a lot. The one thing he does do is run the floor very well and he is a really good midrange shooter. He seals down on the post. It’s hard to pick one thing because he does so many things well,” Hardaway said.

The good news for Wiseman and Hardaway is that Memphis East has a lot of good players.

“We have been blessed with some really good talent on our team and we play really well together. One thing about James, though, is that he is very unselfish. He is a very good team player,” Hardaway said.

Chandler Lawson, a 6-7 junior at Memphis East, has offers from Florida and Georgia Tech already. Alex Lomax, a senior point guard, has offers from LSU, Memphis, Mass, Florida, California, Ole Miss and Temple. Johnathan Lawson, a 6-5 freshman, is one of the top players in the 2021 recruiting class. Malcolm Danridge, a 6-8 junior center, has offers from Florida and Georgia Tech.

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