It was just a few weeks ago that the news emerged that James Wiseman, the top college basketball recruit in 2019, was ruled ineligible to play for Memphis. We now know the extent of his suspension.
The Tigers star, who played a few games early in the year thanks to an emergency restraining order against the NCAA, will now sit out 12 games. The normal suspension commensurate with the payments his family allegedly received is nine games, with three tacked on for the games he played while ineligible.
Before he was head coach at Memphis, Penny Hardaway is said to have loaned money to Wiseman’s family to help him move to the area. The five-star center would go on to play for the former Tigers and NBA star in high school, and then signed with Memphis after it hired Hardaway.
It is unclear the extent with which the NCAA will come down on Memphis as a whole or Hardaway, but the decision on Wiseman is in. He’ll be eligible to return on Jan. 12, in time for the heart of the Tigers’ AAC schedule.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas, one of the most vocal player advocates in the college basketball world, weighed in after news broke. He basically said that such a suspension for Wiseman was always going to come at some point, and suggests that serving one now is the lesser evil available.
The NCAA was ultimately going to win this, and either hammer Wiseman (through the Reinstatement process) or hammer Memphis (through the Infractions process). This is a garden variety eligibility case. The rule sucks, the process sucks, but the suspension was inevitable. https://t.co/VabORvFk0t
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) November 20, 2019
It is unfortunate that one of the nation’s best players will miss a big chunk of what will likely be his only collegiate season, but he’ll be back well before most casual fans fully turn their attention to college hoops.
Wiseman weighed in himself a minute ago.
God has never left me nor forsake me throughout this process…Trust God, Keep the Faith, Stay the Course🙏🏾😁✍🏾
— James Wiseman (@BigTicket_JW) November 20, 2019
Through three games, James Wiseman is averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and three blocks per game in just 23 minutes per night. This still has the chance to be a pretty special season for him.