James Wiseman had visions of stepping on college basketball’s biggest stage in March Madness with the University of Memphis. But he never got the chance as he was ruled ineligible before the coronavirus wiped out the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Now, as a rookie for the Warriors, Wiseman said he’s enjoyed watching college hoops again this season. Shortly before Gonzaga and Baylor tipped off the 2021 national championship game Monday, Wiseman offered his pick for a winner.
“I got Gonzaga,” Wiseman told reporters via video conference. “Me and Jalen [Suggs] played for a USA team, so that’s my guy, for real. That’s who I’m rooting for.”
Suggs shocked the basketball world Saturday with his last-second buzzer beater in the Final Four that sent Gonzaga past UCLA into the championship.
Wiseman played with Suggs on an under-16 USA team in 2017 that won a gold medal in Argentina. As you can imagine, the highlights look a bit unfair with Wiseman towering over the opposition.
“We just did a lot of pick and rolls,” Wiseman said. “He was throwing lobs to me, we was hyped. We had a squad, it was stacked.”
The Warriors made Wiseman the No. 2 overall pick last year, while many suspect Suggs could be picked in the same range in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft.
In order for Suggs to play with Wiseman again by The Bay, a couple of things would have to go right. First, the Minnesota Timberwolves would have to draw the No. 4 or No. 5 pick in the June 22 NBA Draft Lottery, which they would then convey to the Warriors. Then Suggs would have to slip down the draft boards despite his immense talent.
It’s a long shot, but you can imagine the potential between Suggs on the wing and Wiseman in the block at the next level.
Unless Suggs unexpectedly returns to Gonzaga for a sophomore season, the NCAA championship will be his final college game. Wiseman said he would be watching Monday and taking in the madness.
“It’s crazy because I wanted to stay in Memphis for that whole season,” Wiseman said. “I used to be younger and I watched Anthony Davis play when he was at Kentucky and I’ve seen a lot of games that were very exciting. I always wanted to play in March Madness. Seeing it from the outside and looking at it right now, it’s very entertaining.”