Memphis freshman James Wiseman, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, announced on Thursday that he has withdrawn from the University of Memphis and intends to sign with an agent and prepare for the NBA Draft.
“Today I formally withdrew from the University of Memphis and I will be preparing for the next chapter of my life,” Wiseman wrote in his statement. “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. I feel blessed for the opportunity to be a Tiger and for having the honor to play with these special group of guys. I can’t wait to see what all they accomplish this season.”
Wiseman was more than halfway through serving a 12 game suspension handed down by the NCAA because he played after the NCAA had alerted Memphis to the fact that Wiseman was “likely ineligible.” Prior to Memphis’ first game of the season, the NCAA told the athletic department that they had information that led them to believe that Wiseman was ineligible. Prior to his junior year in high school, Wiseman’s mother had received $11,500 from Penny Hardaway to move to Memphis to play for Penny’s high school and AAU teams. Penny, at the time, was a booster for the school. That’s a pretty clear violation.
Wiseman played in their season opener and then filed a restraining order against the NCAA to play in their second and third game of the season.
After a loss at Oregon, the school made the decision to sit out, declare Wiseman ineligible and apply for reinstatement. He was suspended for 12 games and ordered to pay the $11,500.
“We wish nothing but the best for James in his future endeavors as he follows his dreams,” Penny said. “He will be missed.”
Memphis is currently sitting at 9-1 on the season and coming off of a massive win at No. 21 Tennessee.
James Wiseman is a projected top three pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.