James Wiseman, the projected number one pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. According to Wiseman’s lawyers, Penny Hardaway financially assisted the Wiseman family in their move to the Memphis area in 2018. This move enabled Wiseman to play for Hardaway’s high school team, Memphis East. In doing so, Hardaway became a booster in the eyes of the NCAA. This means the recruitment of Wiseman to Memphis was unfair. By NCAA rules, Wiseman is then ineligible to participate in Memphis athletic events.
As of now, a temporary restraining order has been granted, meaning Wiseman will be eligible for the limited future. This will allow time for the courts and the NCAA to review the facts and make a decision.
James Wiseman Ruled Ineligible
If James Wiseman must miss the rest of the season, this is a massive loss for the Memphis Tigers. Wiseman was undoubtedly their best player, and quite possibly the best player in all of college basketball. This decision comes on the heels of a 28 point and 11 rebound performance by Wiseman in the first game of the year. He is an incredibly talented big that can handle the ball, shoot, make plays for others, and defend. It is a loss for all of college basketball to miss the talents of Wiseman.
Memphis, a trendy Final Four pick and consensus tournament team, will now have to rely on the other highly recruited freshmen in the number one class in the nation. They will certainly have the talent to be highly competitive, but winning it all now seems extremely difficult. They will not have much time to figure things out as they play Oregon on November 12th. Penny Hardaway will have an amazing opportunity to show just how good of a coach he really is.
There will be an appeal and Memphis will do everything in their power to allow Wiseman to play the rest of the year, but it seems highly unlikely. James Wiseman will most likely have a long period of rest until NBA Summer League starts. This is an unfortunate situation for all involved.