Rival Views: Who is the top player in the 2019 class?
In the class of 2019, skilled big man Vernon Carey is currently ranked as the top player in the country. However, another big man, James Wiseman, is making a strong run at Carey's spot. When we update the rankings in January, who should get top billing? As usual, Rivals.com National Basketball Analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have Rival Views.
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BOSSI'S VIEW: JAMES WISEMAN
I go back and forth on an almost daily basis. But after our most recent viewings of Vernon Carey and James Wiseman at this week's City of Palms and October's USA Basketball minicamp, I've started to lean in the direction of Wiseman.
Wiseman is taller, runs the floor a little bit better and has been coming on at a rapid pace. Carey is certainly the more skilled of the two, but Wiseman isn't just an unskilled run-and-jump athlete. He's becoming reliable with the jump hook and is more and more comfortable taking and making jump shots from mid-range to the three-point line. His move from Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth to Memphis (Tenn.) East for his junior season has been huge. He's playing for former NBA star Penny Hardaway and Hardaway has quickly become known for getting the most - especially in terms of effort - out of his players. A shy kid by nature, Wiseman really seems to be flourishing since Penny took him under his wing.
On the recruiting front, Wiseman can go anywhere he wants. Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and many others have already offered. Another thing to keep a close eye on with Wiseman's recruitment is growing talk that Hardaway would like to get into college coaching. Were Hardaway to land a head coaching job sometime in the next few years, it could be a game-changer with Wiseman.
EVANS' VIEW: VERNON CAREY JR.
The best player in the 2019 class? I am not going back now, because Vernon Carey Jr., who already sits at the pole position in our rankings, has only continued to improve. That was on total display this week at the City of Palms Classic.
In today’s age, where power forwards are looked upon as small-ball centers, Carey has the size, strength, ball skills and evolving face-up game that makes him the ideal frontcourt big for the college level and beyond.
One of the youngest five-star prospects in his graduating 2019 class, Carey brings some of the best physical tangibles to the playing floor. Standing over 6-feet-9 without shoes and with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Carey is more than just an unrefined prospect who can only pass the eye test. He averaged over 17 points and five rebounds playing a year on the Nike EYBL circuit this past summer, and was also named the MVP at the America Championships in June playing against some of the very best in his age group.
The son of longtime Miami Dolphins’ lineman Vernon Carey Sr., the 2019 stud remains the best that there is. He is down to a final eight with Michigan State, Miami and Duke out in front, though the talk continues to center around the Blue Devils regarding his future commitment.
Carey’s current production and remaining upside is too much to deny as he remains the best in his 2019 class for the foreseeable future.