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James Wiseman Reportedly Signs with Agent, Will Begin 2020 NBA Draft Prep

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 27, 2019

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 12: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers and Anthony Mathis #32 of the Oregon Ducks battle for position during the second half of the game at Moda Center on November 12, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Oregon won the game 82-74.  (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Former University of Memphis big man James Wiseman, who is a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, reportedly has signed with Excel Sports Management to represent him. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news on Wiseman, who announced his withdrawal from Memphis on Dec. 19.

Wiseman was in the middle of a 12-game NCAA suspension when he decided to leave Memphis, with ESPN's Myron Medcalf explaining the reasoning:

"The 7-foot-1 center was suspended after the school admitted that Penny Hardaway made an $11,500 payment to Wiseman's mother in 2017 before accepting the head-coaching job at his alma mater.

"Per the NCAA, Hardaway's $1 million donation to the school in 2008 made him a booster and therefore his payment to Wiseman's mother was an improper benefit. The school vowed to appeal the NCAA's ruling, and Wiseman's lawyers filed for a temporary injunction that allowed Wiseman to play while the investigation continued. But the NCAA announced the 12-game suspension last month and the school lost its appeal."

Wiseman averaged 19.7 points on 76.9 percent shooting, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in just three games.

The NCAA's suspension received much backlash from reporters, with Dan Wolken of USA Today writing the following after Wiseman's decision.

"Rather than chasing LaMelo Ball to the other side of the globe or signaling to James Wiseman he should be training for the draft, maybe someone in Indianapolis should figure out how to make rules that would allow these guys to make money off their celebrity and play under the NCAA banner at the same time.

"As both NCAA policy and public relations strategy, driving prospects into two camps and demonizing kids who want to go pro after one year has been an utter failure, leading to scandals and investigations and outcomes that don’t benefit anyone. But until the NCAA admits that its product is better with people like James Wiseman and Zion Williamson than without, days like Thursday are just another step toward irrelevance."

The suspension certainly isn't a red flag on Wiseman's resume, which is arguably the best among any NBA draft prospect.

Although Wiseman only has a three-game NCAA sample size, he showcased talents that may make him the top pick this summer.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman placed Wiseman second on his latest mock draft to the Atlanta Hawks and wrote the following in part:

"The Hawks may talk themselves into James Wiseman, who'd give [Hawks point guard Trae Young] another high-percentage target and Atlanta someone with a 7'6" wingspan for rim protection. 

"Assuming most teams viewed Wiseman as a top pick heading into the season, they aren't likely to downgrade him for leaving school early, particularly since [North Carolina guard Cole Anthony] hasn't helped his case.

"Ball should make Atlanta think, given his positional size and offensive skill package. But the Hawks may favor Wiseman, knowing that his tools and athleticism seem guaranteed to translate to easy baskets and shot-blocking from the center position."

Wiseman is third in NBADraft.net's mock and first overall in A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston's list.

As for Wiseman's decision to sign with Excel, it was an expected move per Gary Parrish of CBS Sports:

Gary Parrish @GaryParrishCBS

From the moment James Wiseman announced he was leaving Memphis last week, the agency sources quickly attached to him was Excel Sports. I know other agencies were interested in trying to flip him at the last minute. But, obviously, they were unsuccessful.

Sean Deveney of heavy.com also reported on Dec. 19 that Wiseman was expected to sign with Excel's Jeff Schwartz, who represents some of the NBA's best players including Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love, San Antonio Spurs forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge and Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker.