MEMPHIS, Tenn. — University of Memphis basketball star James Wiseman has announced he is leaving the program to prepare for the NBA draft.
The number one recruit in the nation made the announcement on his Instagram page Thursday afternoon.
FOX13 viewer Keith Billingsley snapped this photo of Wiseman at Memphis International Airport Thursday morning prior to his announcement.
Wiseman will now hire an agent, officially starting the NBA pre-draft process. He was considered a top three prospect entering the season and that hasn’t changed.
His three games for the Tigers created even more excitement for pro scouts. NBAdraft.net projects him as the second pick right now.
The 11-ranked Tigers and their fans will move on without the top freshman in college basketball.
Late Thursday afternoon, the University of Memphis and head coach Penny Hardaway released the following statements about Wiseman’s decision:
Tiger fans also reacted to the news.
“It’s disappointing,” Tigers fan Brandon Bumgarner said. “We wanted him to play but in the end he’s a kid. He’s got to make his own decisions for his family, his well-being.”
On November 8, the NCAA informed the UofM that Wiseman would be ineligible because head coach Penny Hardaway provided money for Wiseman’s family to move from Nashville to Memphis in 2017.
A temporary restraining order was issued against the NCAA, allowing Wiseman to play against Illinois-Chicago.
According to the NCAA, Hardaway is a booster and boosters can’t give prospects benefits or influence their decision to attend a school.
Wiseman and his team of attorneys filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and a temporary restraining order was issued that allowed Wiseman to play.
Then on November 15, Wiseman withdrew his lawsuit.
Minutes after Wiseman withdrew the lawsuit, the University of Memphis sent a statement that they have declared Wiseman “ineligible for competition and will immediately apply for his reinstatement. Pending that notification, James will be withheld from competition but will continue to practice with the team.”
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