Potential No. 1 pick James Wiseman withdraws from Memphis, to enter NBA Draft

By Connor Grott

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- After playing only three games at the school, freshman star James Wiseman formally withdrew from the University of Memphis on Thursday.

Wiseman, who has missed the last seven games because of a 12-game suspension stemming from an NCAA investigation, confirmed on social media that he left the program and will prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft.


Wiseman was eligible to return at South Florida on Jan. 12.

"Today I formally withdrew from the University of Memphis and I will be preparing for the next chapter of my life," Wiseman wrote on Instagram. "Ever since I was a little kid, it's been a dream of mine to play in the NBA. Throughout this process, I've asked God to ordain my steps and lead me in the right direction.

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"God is my lord and salvation, and throughout this process he has comforted me. This was not how I expected my freshman season to be, but I'm thankful for everyone who has supported my family and me throughout this process. I want to thank the coaches and staff for all their support and my teammates for pushing me everyday at practice."

The NCAA announced in November that Wiseman's punishment stemmed from two infractions: Wiseman's mother accepting $11,500 from current Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway in the summer of 2017, and Wiseman playing in three games for the Tigers while ineligible.

The school said the NCAA initially declared Wiseman eligible in May, but further investigation revealed that Hardaway provided financial assistance to Wiseman's family in 2017. Memphis said Wiseman was unaware of the payment.

Hardaway provided $11,500 in moving expenses for Wiseman and his family to relocate from Nashville to Memphis in 2017, according to the school. During that time, Hardaway was coaching Wiseman at the AAU level and would then coach him at Memphis East High School.

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The NCAA considered Hardaway, a Memphis alum, to be a booster because of a $1 million donation he provided to the school in 2008 to build a sports hall of fame.


Wiseman averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks per game with the Tigers. The 7-foot-1 preseason All-American is considered the top pick in the upcoming draft.

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