James Wiseman’s brief college career has come to an end. Wiseman, the No. 1 player in the 2019 recruiting class who committed to play for Penny Hardaway at Memphis, has decided to leave the university and focus on his professional career. The news comes via Wiseman’s Instagram account, where he thanked his coaches, teammates, and staff members at the university.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Wiseman’s plan is to sign with an agent — which would make him ineligible to play college ball — and begin preparing for the 2020 NBA Draft, where he is expected to be among the players in contention to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick.
James Wiseman began informing Memphis coaches in recent days about decision to leave school and sign with an agent. Penny Hardaway pushed hard and attempted to keep his star recruit. After 12-game suspension and $11,500 charity fee discipline, Wiseman is gone from NCAA. https://t.co/SPkfiPynl1
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 19, 2019
Wiseman’s decision to leave the university comes amid a 12-game suspension by the NCAA, which barred him from competition due to recruiting violations involving Hardaway — the Cliffnotes version is that Hardaway, then Wiseman’s high school coach, financially helped the teenager’s family move to Memphis in 2017. The NCAA determined that Hardaway was considered a Memphis booster, and as such, Wiseman was slated to miss a collection of games and pay $11,500 to charity.
Now, the 11th-ranked Tigers, which sit 9-1 on the year, will play out the remainder of this season without their biggest star. As for Wiseman, his collegiate career will come to an end after three games. He averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in 23 minutes a night for Memphis.