MEMPHIS — The wait is over, Tiger fans: James Wiseman will make his Tigers debut Tuesday night when the University of Memphis opens the season against South Carolina State.
Penny Hardaway made the announcement Monday, ending days of speculation.
Wiseman, the nation’s No. 1 recruit and the potential No. 1 pick in next summer’s NBA draft, missed the Tigers’ two exhibition games, sidelined with a minor ankle injury.
But Hardaway gave his top talent a clean bill of health.
“James Wiseman is healthy and is playing tomorrow,” said Hardaway. “I’m happy about that. I thought we’d have him for the exhibitions but he just wasn’t comfortable.
“I’m the type of guy where I went through six knee surgeries. I’m not going to force anybody out there that’s not ready. The ankle injury was bad because Isaiah Maurice landed on his ankle and then twisted it pretty badly. I can’t say what his pain threshold was. We had to wait until he got more comfortable.
“I saw him on the floor before the game against LeMoyne and he looked really good. I was like, man, he’s starting to look better and then a couple of practices and I was like, okay. He has more confidence. But yeah, for awhile, he was just not gonna rush it. I had a lot of concerns but James erases a large majority of those concerns.”
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