James Wiseman leaves Memphis to prepare for NBA

And why shouldn't he?

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By now, most of us heard the name James Wiseman and are all pretty familiar with his story. For those that are not, here’s a quick rundown:

  • He’s from Nashville, Tennessee
  • He committed to play basketball at the University of Memphis
  • He received financial “help” from Penny Hardaway, who was a booster at the time
  • He was deemed ineligible by the NCAA for receiving help from Hardaway before Hardaway was named the Memphis head coach

So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about what’s currently going on with Wiseman

After serving part of his 12 game suspension, Wiseman decided to leave the University of Memphis altogether and begin his preparation for the 2020 NBA Draft.

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

Personally, I commend Wiseman for this brave choice. It is so hard to walk away from a university you committed to, a coach you’ve built a relationship with, and teammates who have become like family. However, while it may be a tough decision to make in the moment, I’m sure it’s a decision Wiseman won’t soon regret.

The entire reason for his suspension was because his family could not afford the 212 mile move from Nashville to Memphis. If I’m James Wiseman, I would be thinking about my family first. I’m thinking about providing for the people that provided for me my whole life. I’m thinking about a six figure salary in the NBA versus the lack of salary I’d be receiving by playing in college.

If I’m James Wiseman, I’m thinking big picture.

Although it may be tough not having that “bro-time”, playing 2K in the locker room or free-styling on bus rides to games, I imagine having to help your mom figure out how to stay ahead of her bills every month is even tougher.

Keep in mind, I’m only speaking on Wiseman’s situation from the research I’ve done. I don’t know him or his family’s financial situation personally. Coincidentally, neither does the NCAA. All they saw was one man helping another young man and his family move to a city where they would be able to watch him play basketball.

Then, they saw this same man later become that young man’s head coach. From there, the NCAA decided that they broke the rules and the rest is history.

This is why I disagree so much with how the NCAA operates

It’s just a board of older gentlemen who have no way of understanding the day-to-day life of your typical young adult student-athlete, making all of the decisions and rulings that affect the lives of said young adults.

What are the chances that anyone on the NCAA board of directors has ever had to worry about where their next meal might come from? Or if their lights might get shut off in the morning?

This is the reality of so many young adults who are currently playing or trying to play collegiate sports. So why should people who’ve never had these experiences punish those who do?

They shouldn’t.

In a perfect world, someone on that board of directors would stand up for kids like James Wiseman. They would see his situation from both sides and make a reasonable ruling on his behalf, an 18-year-old kid who despite having a promising basketball career ahead of him still deserved the chance at playing college basketball.

They wouldn’t force a kid whose family couldn’t afford moving cities to pay $11,500 just to play basketball for his university of choice.

Unfortunately, this is the NCAA we all know and hate.

As a former college athlete myself, I am hopeful that the NCAA won’t always be something we turn our noses up to. I’m hopeful that the next generation of college athletes won’t know the same NCAA that we do.

To the next James Wiseman, just pull an R.J. Hampton and go straight for the dollar signs

Put the NCAA on their heels so much so that they won’t have any other choice but to consider making a change in their ways. In my opinion, it would be for the greater good.


  • Danielle Williams

    Former Women's Basketball Player for The Indiana University Hoosiers. Striving to be the next Doris Burke. Brace yourself for overly opinionated posts coming from me.

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