Memphis' James Wiseman's 12-Game Suspension Upheld by NCAA; Will Return Jan. 12

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2019

Memphis' James Wiseman (32) pauses between plays in an NCAA college basketball game against University of Illinois-Chicago Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)
Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

The NCAA upheld its 12-game suspension of Memphis freshman James Wiseman on Wednesday, meaning he will be eligible to return Jan. 12, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

The University of Memphis had appealed the NCAA's decision to suspend Wiseman due to the fact that current Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway gave Wiseman's mother, Donzaleigh Artis, money to aid in their relocation to Memphis, Tennessee, before Hardaway became the head coach at Memphis.

In addition to the suspension, Wiseman was also ordered to donate $11,500 to charity since it was the amount of money Hardaway gave his mother. That discipline was upheld as well.

Although Hardaway was not the head coach at Memphis at the time of the violation, the benefits were ruled impermissible by the NCAA since Hardaway was considered a Memphis booster due to donating money to the school multiple times.

When Memphis landed Wiseman, it was considered a major coup since 247Sports rated him as the No. 1 overall recruit in his class.

Wiseman appeared in one game for the Tigers before being ruled ineligible and then played in two more games after a judge granted a stay. In those three games, the 7'1" big man averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Memphis also went 2-1.

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Overall, the Tigers are 5-1 and are ranked No. 16 in the nation after having missed the NCAA tournament in five consecutive seasons.

With Wiseman out, Hardaway has relied on a trio of fellow freshmen in Precious Achiuwa, D.J. Jeffries and Lester Quinones, who are all averaging double figures in scoring.

Wiseman is in line to miss nine more games before returning for Memphis third American Athletic Conference game of the season against South Florida.