James Wiseman withdraws from University of Memphis to prepare for NBA draft

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — James Wiseman has withdrawn from the University of Memphis and is preparing for the 2020 NBA draft, according to his Instagram account, the university and online sources.

Wiseman said on his Instagram account that he had withdrawn from the university to play in the NBA.

View this post on Instagram

Today I formally withdrew from the University of Memphis and I will be preparing for the next chapter of my life. Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been a dream of mine to play in the NBA. Throughout this process, I’ve asked God to ordain my steps and lead me in the right direction. God is my lord and salvation, and throughout this process he has comforted me. This was not how I expected my freshman season to be, but I’m thankful for everyone who has supported my family and me throughout this process. I want to thank the coaches and staff for all their support and my teammates for pushing me everyday at practice. I feel blessed for the opportunity to be a Tiger and for having the honor to play with these special group of guys. I can’t wait to see what all they accomplish this season. The friends and fans of Tiger Nation will always hold a place in my heart. #GoTigersGo 🐯🔵🐯

A post shared by James Wiseman (@bigticket_j13) on


Wiseman is a potential No. 1 pick. He signed with the University of Memphis this season after playing with U of M head coach Penny Hardaway at East High School, but he faced controversy over an $11,500 gift Hardaway made to his family while he was in high school.

The NCAA ruled that Wiseman would have to sit out several games and be fined. He was scheduled for a possible return in January.

The U of M Athletics department released a statement on Wiseman’s departure.

Although disappointing, the UofM supports James and his family in his decision to leave to prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft, and will continue to follow James in what will certainly prove to be a successful career.

Hardaway also released a statement about Wiseman’s decision.

We wish nothing but the best for James in his future endeavors as he follows his dreams. He will truly be missed.

Wiseman’s leaving the U of M was felt by representatives in Washington, with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) making the following statement.

The NCAA is responsible for upending what could have been a brilliant college career for this fine young man. All of Memphis will be saddened by James Wiseman’s decision. Rather than continuing on in college, he chose to drop out of school. The NCAA essentially fed him to an agent. Rather than have a caring coach and guidance in his youth, he will be a teenage pro. If the NCAA had given him a reasonable suspension, he probably would have stayed. The NCAA has a lot to answer for here.

You’d expect Jerry Maguire to say ‘show me the money.’ I didn’t expect it from Mark Emmert. Mistakes have consequences.

I wish James Wiseman all the best as he enters the NBA draft.

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