Whitehaven survived a late rally from East and Olive Branch got beat on a buzzer beater, which means that all three Memphis Tigers basketball signees — James Wiseman, Malcolm Dandridge and DJ Jeffries — were upset in their district championship games Friday night.
Wiseman, the No. 1 player in the country according to the 247Sports composite, exploded for 32 points, including 16 and three consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Memphis target Matthew Murrell (22 points, 8 rebounds) and Whitehaven, which pulled out a 60-55 victory.
“It’s an opportunity for me to tell my kids that this is what great players do. They will their team,” Whitehaven coach Faragi Phillips said of Wiseman’s performance. “We have some great players, but for them to be able to see it firsthand was good for us tonight so going through out the rest of the season we can step up and carry each other through.”
The seven-foot McDonald’s All-American said that he is still working hard on the recruiting trail, continuing to target Murrell as well as a number of 2019 prospects.
He listed Montverde’s Precious Achiuwa, IMG Academy’s Lester Quinones, Oak Ridge’s Niven Glover, Mountain Brook’s Trendon Watford, and John Marshall’s Matthew Hurt as players he’s pursuing.
Wiseman agreed that it’s almost as if he’s working as a fourth assistant on the recruiting trail for Memphis, which has been encouraged by coach Penny Hardaway.
“He just tells me to keep working and keep going out for him and just try your hardest, I guess. So I try my best,” said Wiseman
Murrell, who said he didn’t have any recruiting updates, said getting Dandridge to foul out was the turning point of the game.
“I think it was when Malcolm fouled out because that took away their other big so most of our guarding went towards James,” said Murrell.