Memphis commit James Wiseman named Gatorade National Player of the Year, not done recruiting | Zagsblog
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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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Sunday / September 22.
  • Memphis commit James Wiseman named Gatorade National Player of the Year, not done recruiting

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    James Wiseman, the 7-footer from Memphis (TN) East, on Tuesday was named the 2018-2019 Gatorade National Boys Basketball.

    Wiseman was surprised with the award at his high school by Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson.

    “Yeah, I was surprised by it,” he said by phone. Most of the whole school was outside, my teammates. And then Jaren Jackson gave me the award. It’s truly a blessing just to receive this award.”

    Wiseman beat out Nico Mannion, the 6-3 senior point guard from Phoenix, AZ who is committed to play at Arizona, and R.J. Hampton, the junior guard from Little Elm, TX who is the No. 6 recruit in the Class of 2020 (ESPN) and remains uncommitted.

    Past Gatorade National Boys Basketball Players of the Year winners have included 25 NBA first-round draft picks. That group has combined for five NBA MVPs and 65 All-Star appearances. The last two winners were R.J. Barrett (Duke) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics).

    The 2018-10 Gatorade class includes two commits apiece from Duke  (Wendell Moore, Senior Guard from North Carolina + Vernon Carey Jr., Senior Center from Florida), Kansas (Christian Braun, Senior Guard from Kansas + Issac McBride, Senior Guard from Arkansas) and Memphis (Wiseman, Senior Center from Tennessee + D.J. Jeffries, Guard/Forward from Mississippi).

    The 7-foot, 230-pound Wiseman had led Memphis East High School to a 24-8 record and a berth in the Class AAA state tournament quarterfinals at the time of his selection. Wiseman averaged 25.8 points, 14.8 rebounds, 5.5 blocks and 1.3 steals through 32 games. The Class AAA Mr. Basketball winner, Wiseman is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. He will participate in the 2019 Nike Hoop Summit in Oregon next month, and is the projected No. 3 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, per ESPN.com.

    Wiseman is headed to the McDonald’s All-American Game in Atlanta next Wednesday, and plans to do some recruiting while he’s there. He wants fellow All-Americans Trendon Watford and Precious Achiuwa to join him at Memphis, as well as sharp shooter Lester Quinones, who took an official to Memphis last weekend.

    “[I’m trying to get] Trendon Watford and Precious from Montverde Academy,” he said. “Lester as well. I’m trying to get all three of them to come to University of Memphis.”

    And what’s his message?

    “We can make it to the March Madness tournament and we can learn a lot from each other and make each other better,” he said. “Penny Hardaway has a great coaching staff behind him and that’s going to improve our games tremendously. I can imagine myself in the [NCAA Tournament] atmosphere. It’s going to be crazy.”

    Wiseman can envision a deep run next year if he gets a little more help.

    “I think we can win it all,” he said. “That’s all I got to say, I think we can win it all.”

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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.