Penny Hardaway hasn’t coached a game for Memphis yet but he has already sent waves through the recruiting world.
Since taking the job at his alma mater, Hardaway has corralled Tyler Harris, Antwann Jones and Alex Lomax and JUCO Isaiah Maurice.
However, he has also very quickly gotten Memphis into the horserace for James Wiseman.
The most promising big man in the class of 2019, Wiseman transferred from his original high school, Nashville’s Ensworth School, to Hardaway’s Memphis East program.
It’s hard to imagine that Hardaway doesn't have a real advantage with a guy he’s already coached and that’s a problem for Kentucky’s John Calipari, who appeared to have the inside track for Wiseman.
That changes things for the recruitment of Vernon Carey, who is also being avidly pursued by UNC.
Let’s just issue the standard disclaimer here: recruiting is soap opera for guys as Zion Williamson recently reminded us all when he surprised everyone by choosing Duke.
That said, the general sense is that Duke and Miami, where Carey’s father played football, have been out front for Carey.
Assuming Hardaway gets Wiseman, as now seems likely, you can expect Calipari to start working Carey much harder.
To get an idea of Carey’s game, remember that his father was an offensive tackle with an eight-year NFL career. Carey’s a big kid but he’s mobile. We found this video of him playing against Zion Williamson in 2017 which should give you some idea of his potential.
Keep in mind that this was a year ago. Williamson was a bit chunkier than he is now and obviously Carey has matured also.
Nonetheless, both guys are highly athletic and it’s fun to watch them go at it.
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