7:49pm: Memphis took a risk playing Wiseman, as the NCAA issued a statement saying that Wiseman “is likely ineligible.”
6:18pm: The school has issued a statement, saying it is working with the NCAA to try to restore Wiseman’s eligibility, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Hardaway provided Wiseman’s family $11.5K in moving expenses in 2017 without James Wiseman’s knowledge, according to the statement.
5:38pm: Wiseman will play for Memphis Friday against UIC due to an “emergency temporary restraining order,” Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets.
4:57pm: Memphis big man James Wiseman, the potential No. 1 overall pick in next June’s draft, has been ruled ineligible to play for the Tigers by the NCAA, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.
The NCAA deemed that Memphis head coach and former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who signed Wiseman as part of the No. 1 rated recruiting class, helped to pay Wiseman and his family to move to the city last year while he was still in high school, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Memphis-based attorney Leslie Ballin told reporters than Hardaway’s actions made him a booster in the NCAA’s eyes, college basketball analyst Jeff Goodman tweets.
The 7’1” Wiseman had a dominant college debut on Tuesday, as he racked up 28 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against South Carolina State in just 22 minutes.
How this will affect Wiseman’s draft stock remains to be seen. He could have solidified his status as the best player in the draft but will now be forced to the sidelines. NBA teams wanted to see more regarding his feel for the game, his motor and his jump shot, so the NCAA’s ruling will make it tougher for scouts and executives to evaluate him, O’Connor adds in another tweet.
Wiseman averaged 25.8 points and 14.8 rebounds at Memphis East High School. He was named the 2018-19 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was initially expected to sign with Kentucky. But he shifted gears when Memphis hired Hardaway, who was his former AAU coach.