James Wiseman Leaves Memphis, Will Prepare For Draft

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.

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51 thoughts on “James Wiseman Leaves Memphis, Will Prepare For Draft

  1. phins34

    After Memphis went to bat for his eligibility this seems pretty cowardly on his part…

    • Jason Lancaster

      Ya. How dare an unpaid athlete stop working for free despite his high draft pick status and his desire to avoid injuries that could cost him millions?

        • Jason Lancaster

          If we’re going to talk about “should,” the NCAA should let schools pay athletes, they should insure players against future lost income as a result of injury, and NCAA fans should stop excusing the exploitation of young athletes by acting like players “owe” something to the schools that leverage their talents for profit.

          • hiflew

            Why do people think a free college education is nothing? I have enough student loan debt to know that my education was far from free. Just because he or others do not want to take advantage of the free education, does not make it nothing.

            • the dude

              What endorsement deals did your university get for you eating Cheetos in your dorm room?
              Wiseman makes the NCAA money, gets none.

            • Jason Lancaster

              It’s not nothing. It’s practically nothing.

              Wiseman could make at least $20 million if he’s a high lottery pick. If he plays for another ten years after his rookie scale deal, he’ll make maybe $100 million.

              Today, right now, he is an unknown quantity. But he’s likely worth millions, and he was in demand because of that fact. Memphis offered him a pittance to play – a semester if school, maybe two.

              You tell me, how much is that really worth? Is it enough compensation for a guy like Wiseman?

              • x%sure

                Being underpaid after HS is pretty normal. It’s the NBA salary that is unusual.

                Australia is offering an out, a good place to load manage. The poor BB elite should take it. Maybe NCAA BB will recover after a weak decade.

          • These college student athletes know these rules BEFORE they enter college. If they don’t like it, don’t go the college route. Nobody is forcing them.

      • mcmillankmm

        He was at school less than 4 months….not like he was halfway into his 4th year….agree with phins, he never should have attended

        • Michael Chaney

          Why shouldn’t he have attended? How was he supposed to know the NCAA would botch his case?

          • x%sure

            The NCAA followed their rules. They should do more of that and not allow money to rule.

      • Buckman

        Additonally, players like Wiseman are better off with scouts and teams imagining what he could be rather giving them body of work to analyze. Hope+Imagination can be a powerful convincing force in the draft.

      • hiflew

        You must mean, how dare a man commit to something and then leave everyone depending on him in the lurch? I wouldn’t give a dime to someone that would just walk away from his teammates like that.

        • Jason Lancaster

          Did your employer provide you with any training or any sort of education when you first started? And did you agree to work for free while you received that education or training?

          Because, if not, do me a favor and return your next paycheck to your boss as thanks. I mean, it’s the least you can do, right?

          • x%sure

            An employer-based argument is not a point. The NCAA governs collegiate sports. Nobody has to sign up.

            • Jason Lancaster

              That’s exactly backwards. Laborers – like college athletes – should be paid. Saying “they knew the rules” is failing to recognize the argument I’m making (the rules are unjust). Proposing Australia as an alternative is absurd, considering that the NCAA makes more than enough money to compensate the players.

              • x%sure

                Calling college athletes “laborers” is something I find silly. We have different assumptions.

      • Black Ace57

        As someone in debt to pay for my schooling I find it funny when people downplay how great scholarships are as if they are getting nothing.

          • Black Ace57

            Shooting hoops is a weird arbitrary marker for who “deserves” money or not. There are students at school who help with research for new cancer treatments. There are students who help design equipment for NASA. No one says they deserve millions.

            • Jason Lancaster

              Funny. College students that do research can be compensated. College athletes can not.

              You’re making my point.

        • whoneedsfacts

          If the player was adverage and planned on getting a degree then your argument may matter. Even then the possibility of getting hurt and losing millions isn’t worth a Memphis degree. Your not a potential superstar basketball talent, I have student loans too, oh well it’s a whole different conversation my dude.

  2. Jason Lancaster

    The NCAA always manages to make the worst of a bad situation.

    First, this ridiculous no compensation policy, which schools cheat on every year. Next, punishments for athletes that SHOULD punish the school…taking a cash payment isn’t nearly as bad as offering one. Finally, because the NCAA does nothing to protect young athletes from financial losses due to injury, the best talent has a strong incentive to sit out.

    The NCAA is awful.

    • floridagators

      The NCAA’s job is to preserve amateurism. If all these athletes didn’t like it there are plenty of opportunities to go play for money elsewhere.

      • Jason Lancaster

        Ahh yes “amatuerism” – the practice of earning billions in TV contracts, ticket revenue, and merchandising profits, but refusing to share it with the people who risk their health for entertainment value.

        But coaches and athletic directors? They get a share. And a share goes to fancy training facilities, huge stadiums, giant scoreboards that can also show advertising, etc. But players? Nah. They’re “amatuers.”

        • Black Ace57

          You do know that a lot of the money from those programs actually goes back into the school which helps ALL the students. If schools started paying players schools like duke and unc could plausibly raise tuition. can you live with that?

            • Black Ace57

              It does look at how many millions were lost for academic programs after the Penn State scandal. It’s like you lack any objectivity.

              • Jason Lancaster

                Perhaps Penn State lost millions because they covered up a crime? Perhaps they’re not the best example?

                But even if you’re right, so what? Labor should be compensated fairly. No one should expect one group of students to work for free so that other students pay less tuition.

                • brandoningramno1fan

                  Damn, bro, you are so on this article, agree 100%. NCAA is a joke, a con. Good luck to the kid.

      • amk3510

        Not in football or basketball. And please spare me the “they could go over seas nonsense”.

        • x%sure

          The players can join a paying minor league. If that’s not a good option, what does that tell you about what their actual value is?

      • whoneedsfacts

        Yes and they are finally starting to take those other options. Go ahead stand up for the NCAA, big billion dollar organizations over people, that’s must be your jam :)

    • mcmillankmm

      Yeah, you’re right, Penny and Wiseman should have each been suspended then

      • bestno5

        It’s too bad it isn’t work out because they could have been the next PennyWise

    • hiflew

      We usually disagree on this subject, but I’ll agree with you there. Schools should be punished severely for paying players. If caught the first time, a one year ban from TV and postseason. The second time, a three year ban. The third time, a permanent ban.

      But I also favor banning entire families from NCAA-accredited colleges if the family receives payment. Meaning if you accept payments, not only will your basketball playing son be banned, but so will your nerdy son and your daughter.

      There are problems, but paying students is not the answer. And neither is putting 18 year olds in the NBA.

      • futuremvp

        “Meaning if you accept payments, not only will your basketball playing son be banned, but so will your nerdy son and your daughter.”

        In your view, should we apply the same logic to criminal justice system? When someone commits a crime, should all of his family go to jail?

        • phillyballers

          Nature versus nurture. Was he raised as a sociopath or was he born one?

      • Jason Lancaster

        Here’s an idea: instead of Draconian bans that will be difficult to dole out, why not just let the market decide what’s best? NCAA teams can bid for talent by offering tuition, room and board, and cash. Players can go wherever they like, and no one has to worry about a ban because Uncle Bob took cash.

        Too easy, right?

      • whoneedsfacts

        Hi Flew, I didn’t realize you were a fantasy tyrant. The Punisher himself.

    • If they don’t like the NCAA rules then don’t go to college. Problem solved!!

      • Jason Lancaster

        If you think exploitation is good, than go play for the NCAA!

        And if you get hurt playing for free and lose millions? You should have known better!

        • The NBA created the rule that kids can’t jump from high school directly to the NBA. There are other options available besides NCAA.

  3. Should come okay in Aussie. Season has 8 more weeks plus a finals series. Give him a week or so to adjust and fit the system and he could have another 5 games to impress scouts plus finals.
    Hampton has kept his draft stock and he hasn’t been that great. If he comes to Aussie and averages close to a double double then he keeps his stock. If he plays better than that then he’s a top 2 pick locked.

    He should go play for South East Melbourne

    • Curtisrowe

      Or, he could just stay in shape, not risk injury, and be a top 3 pick in the draft.

  4. phillyballers

    I don’t think the schools need to pay the kids. Leave that up to the boosters. Open the floodgates on boosters giving kids cars, parents jobs, bags cash as long as little Ricky goes to Western University and scores a few baskets.

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