Memphis basketball signee D.J. Jeffries and Tigers target Trendon Watford will take the court together Saturday, joining forces for the second time in two weeks.
And this time, the two five-star players will be joined by the No. 1 overall prospect in the class, Memphis signee James Wiseman.
Wiseman, Jeffries and Watford will all participate in the Jordan Brand Classic game Saturday at 5 p.m. inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The second of the two prestigious high school all-star games, the Jordan Brand Classic is an opportunity for the two Tigers signees to showcase their abilities in front of professional scouts while also continuing to recruit Watford.
Trendon Watford pushes decision back
Watford’s original college decision date was set for Saturday, with the plan to announce his choice on national television sometime during the game.
Once the 6-foot-9 power forward realized that the game would not be televised and instead streamed on Twitter, he decided to move the date back.
“New announcement date will be coming soon,” Watford wrote in a tweet on Monday.
Watford was in Memphis last week to play in the Jack Jones Shootout all-star game at Memphis University School alongside Jeffries.
“D.J. Jeffries and James Wiseman have been recruiting me just as hard as (Memphis assistant Mike Miller),” Watford said before the game. “They want me to be their teammate. They feel like if I come we can be one of the best teams in the country. I feel like if I do come we could be pretty good.”
Perhaps the delay in his decision is more time for Jeffries and Wiseman to pursue Watford, but it is also a chance for other schools to continue to build a relationship with the star forward.
Jeffries aims to prove himself
For Jeffries, the journey to Las Vegas is more than just a recruiting trip, it’s a chance to prove himself in front of several professional scouts and doubters.
The forward was not selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game last month, a result that he expected but was still disappointing.
“Coming in, I sort of knew that I wasn’t going to make both,” Jeffries said. “I knew I would probably make one or the other. … I can use the Jordan Brand Game to prove people wrong.”
The first five-star signee of Penny Hardaway’s coaching career acknowledged last week that even he feels overlooked sometimes when compared to other Memphis recruits.
“But I don’t let it get to me,” Jeffries said. “I know I’ll get there one day. My big dream is the NBA, so as long as the NBA scouts don’t overlook me then I’m OK.
“I feel underrated going there, so I have to show them what I can do.”
The next MVP?
Wiseman and Jeffries will become the first Tigers signees to participate in the Jordan Brand Classic since Dedric Lawson in 2015.
Memphis has a long history with the event, with players from the Calipari and Pastner eras starring in the game.
Indiana Pacers guard Tyreke Evans is the lone Memphis player to take home co-MVP honors, scoring 23 points with four assists in 2008.
“I’m really excited for this,” Jeffries said. “The last couple months I’ve been at the track and in the gym every day just trying to get better. Now it’s time to go out there and show what I can do.”