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James Wiseman: “Kentucky was right there.”

James Wiseman with ESPN’s Brooke Weisbrod at the McDonald’s All-American Game. (McDonald’s All-American Game Photo)


If 7-footer James Wiseman had decided to play college basketball at Kentucky, the Cats likely would have been ranked No. 1 going into next season.

Instead, he decided to play for Memphis where his former high school coach, Penny Hardaway, is now the head coach.

“I think we can win it all. That’s all I got to say, I think we can win it all,” Wiseman said about his expectations for Memphis next year.

Wiseman was named the McDonald’s Player of the Year after averaging 25.8 points, 14.8 rebounds, 5.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. He’s already being projected as a top three NBA draft pick in 2020.

For two years Kentucky seemed to be Wiseman’s leader before Hardaway got the job at Memphis when Tubby Smith was fired after last season.

“Kentucky was right there. Coach (John) Calipari is a great coach and I was going to go there but me and coach Penny have a great relationship and I just had to follow my coach. There were a lot of scenarios that got me to Memphis,” Wiseman, who had 13 points, six rebounds and two assists in Wednesday night’s McDonald’s All-American Game, said. “Kentucky would have been my second option and my third option was Florida State.”


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  1. It’s a free country. As for Memphis winning it all, we’ll see.

  2. It would be a very cold night in a place that is usually very hot.

    1. Well said, Professor.

  3. Gee I guess I never thought I’d be sad to see Smith lose his job. After the things he said about UK fans…

    Good luck Wiseman. You’re going to need it. Being a good player doesn’t guarantee being a good coach even if you have good talent. Most people aren’t good coaches. You went with an unproven commodity.

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