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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / December 11.
  • James Wiseman wants R.J. Hampton to reclass to 2019

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Wherever James Wiseman plays basketball for the 2019-20 season, he wants an elite point guard to run with.

    Enter R.J. Hampton.

    The 6-foot-5 Hampton is currently in the Class of 2020, but has flirted with the idea of reclassifying to 2019. With Wiseman, Hampton and Jalen Green all taking visits to Memphis last week, Wiseman is now working on getting Hampton to join him next season.

    “James wants the best for R.J., and R.J. wants the best for James,” Rod Hampton, R.J.’s father, said Monday by phone. “[Wiseman] is going to go to a top-notch school, there’s going to be a top-notch point guard. If the pieces fell in place like that, [R.J.] wouldn’t mind.”

    He added: “As of now, we’re 2020 110 percent.

    Hampton and Wiseman are former USA Basketball teammates, and Wiseman turned up on the Memphis campus for an unofficial late last week just as Hampton and Green were taking their official.

    Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and Markel Crawford of the Memphis Grizzlies were also on campus and played pickup with the guys, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

    “You want to play with somebody that you trust,” Rod Hampton said of the connection between his son and Wiseman, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2019. “Not only is R.J. a good basketball player, R.J. is a good friend to him, and that’s what R.J.’s message to him was. ‘You do what’s best for James. By any stretch of the imagination you have to do what’s best for James.'”

    Wiseman took an official visit to Kentucky (Sept. 7) and has upcoming visits slated with Kansas (Sept. 28), Vanderbilt (Oct. 14) and Florida State (Oct. 25). He has also had home visits with a number of schools, but is not expected to commit until the spring.

    Most observers believe Wiseman will land at either Kentucky or Memphis. Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway was his AAU and high school coach, and ironically sat in on his home visit with Kentucky coach John Calipari last fall.

    Now Memphis is a serious player for Wiseman, and the other guys as well.

    “We’re starting this thing and you can be part of something big,” Rod Hampton said of Memphis’ message. “They’re going to get on the trail, they’re going to recruit. They call it ‘Hoop City.’ We’re going to turn Hoop City back into Hoop City.”

    Meantime, Hampton plans to visit Kansas (Sept. 28) and Kentucky (Oct. 12) for their Midnight Madness events, and will also trip to Texas and possibly Michigan, his father said.

    “We’re going to Kansas, Kentucky and we’re going to go to Texas, and maybe if time permits, Michigan,” Rod said. “We just have to figure out if it’s going to be official or unofficial.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.