Star prospect James Wiseman leaves Memphis to prepare for NBA draft

James Wiseman’s collegiate career lasted just three games. The 18-year-old Wiseman announced Thursday he is leaving the University of Memphis so he can begin preparing for the NBA draft.

Wiseman thanked his Memphis teammates and coaches on Instagram. He also admitted his freshman year at the school didn’t go as planned.

The NCAA suspended Wiseman for 12 games in November after it was revealed Wiseman’s family accepted $11,500 from Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway in 2017. Hardaway was coaching at Memphis East High School at the time, and Wiseman was in the process of transferring to the school.

A year later, Hardaway took the head coaching job at the University of Memphis. He recruited Wiseman — a 7-foot center — to Memphis for the 2019 season.

Though Hardaway’s payment to Wiseman’s family occurred before either party was at the University of Memphis, the NCAA ruled it a violation due to Hardaway’s connection to the school. Hardaway gave Memphis — his alma mater — a $1 million donation in 2008. That was enough for the NCAA to consider Hardaway a booster for the school.

The NCAA initially ruled Wiseman as ineligible, but Wiseman filed a lawsuit that allowed him to play until his case was heard. Wiseman eventually dropped that lawsuit and was ruled ineligible by Memphis. The NCAA issued Wiseman’s 12-game suspension soon after. As part of his suspension, Wiseman must donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice. Had he remained with Memphis, Wiseman wouldn’t have been eligible to play in games until January.

Wiseman is expected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft. He averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in his three games with Memphis.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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