The NCAA has ruled Memphis freshman James Wiseman ineligible to play this season, but the consensus top-three NBA draft pick suited up Friday when the Tigers defeated Illinois-Chicago thanks to an emergency temporary restraining order. This comes during a week of many different stories, including Chase Young of Ohio State Football who is a top-three consensus NFL draft pick.
“The university is currently working with the NCAA staff to restore his playing status, and we are hopeful for a speedy resolution to the matter,” Memphis said in a statement.
Wiseman was ruled ineligible because Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway gave $11,500 to Wiseman’s family to help them move to Memphis from Nashville before he began coaching at the school, the university said in a statement, according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. The NCAA deemed Hardaway, an alumnus of Memphis, to be a booster at the time, according to Wiseman’s attorney, Leslie Ballin.
Hardaway played for the Tigers from 1991-93. Before being named as head coach in 2018, the former NBA All-Star coached Wiseman on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. Wiseman was a centerpiece of Hardaway’s stellar recruiting class this year, which also included Precious Achiuwa and DJ Jeffries.
The NCAA has ruled Memphis F/C James Wiseman — the possible No. 1 overall pick in 2020 NBA Draft — ineligible, his lawyers said in Memphis.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 8, 2019
Memphis attorney Leslie Ballin told reporters that Penny Hardaway helped finance Wiseman and his family’s move to Memphis back in high school. Wiseman moved from Nashville to Memphis. The NCAA has deemed Penny a booster.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 8, 2019
BREAKING: Attorney says Shelby County judicial court judge just ruled to put a hold on NCAA's ineligibility ruling. pending further litigation.
James Wiseman can play tonight.
— Jason Munz (@munzly) November 8, 2019
— Grind City Media (@grindcitymedia) November 9, 2019