James Wiseman, a contender to be the No. 1 overall pick next spring, has left the University of Memphis and will begin preparing for the 2020 NBA draft, he announced today on Instagram. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wiseman began informing Memphis coaches in recent days about his decision to leave the school and hire an agent.
“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,” Wiseman said in his statement.
Wiseman, who appeared in three early-season games for Memphis, had been serving a 12-game suspension issued by the NCAA as a result of recruiting violations. Had he remained with the Tigers, he would have been eligible to return to action on January 12 vs. South Florida. Instead, his college career is already over.
In those three games as a Tiger, Wiseman was dominant, averaging 19.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG, and 3.0 BPG with a .769 FG% in just 23.0 minutes per contest. He currently ranks as the No. 3 player on ESPN’s big board, with Jonathan Givony praising his athleticism and soft touch around the rim, along with his ability to protect the rim and make switches on defense.
Wiseman’s decision represents the latest wrench thrown into the plans of NBA evaluators and scouts who were hoping to get an extended look at 2020’s top prospects this winter. Projected top-10 picks LaMelo Ball (foot), R.J. Hampton (hip), and Cole Anthony (knee) are all currently sidelined with injuries.