The James Wiseman era at Memphis has ended after just three games. The projected Number 3 overall, Wiseman, who has missed the past seven games due to a 12-game suspension stemming from an NCAA investigation and was set to return at South Florida on January 12th. Wiseman announced on Instagram on Thursday that he will leave the program, hire an agent and prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Wiseman is currently ESPN.com’s projected No.3 pick in the upcoming draft. In three games with Memphis (9-1), he averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks. The 7-foot-1 center was suspended after the school admitted that Penny Hardaway made an $11,500 payment to Wiseman’s mother in 2017 before accepting the head-coaching job at his alma mater.
The school vowed to appeal the NCAA’s ruling, and Wiseman’s lawyers filed for a temporary injunction that allowed Wiseman to play while the investigation continued. But the NCAA announced the 12-game suspension last month and the school lost its appeal. “We wish nothing but the best for James in his future endeavors as he follows his dreams,” Hardaway said via statement. “He will truly be missed.” The Tigers are 7-0 without Wiseman, a streak that includes Saturday’s 51-47 victory over a nationally ranked Tennessee team.
NBA executives told ESPN after Wiseman’s decision that it is unlikely he falls out of the top five of the draft. They don’t see too many prospects in this class with enough high-level talent to drop Wiseman further than that given his skills. Although Wiseman’s college career will very likely be over, he will focus on preparing for the NBA Draft in June.