James Wiseman’s collegiate career is over, having ended after just three games. Wiseman had served seven games of a 12-game NCAA suspension that stemmed from an investigation into a payment of $11,500 for moving expenses that Penny Hardaway had made to Wiseman’s mother two years ago before Hardaway was named the coach at Memphis.
Wiseman said he will now sign with an agent and spend the next seven months preparing for the 2020 NBA Draft.
A league source told Heavy.com that the agent Wiseman is expected to sign with is veteran Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, whose client list includes Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Kevin Love, C.J. McCollum, Nikola Jokic and Andre Drummond.
Schwartz also represents budding young players like Tyler Herro, Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray and Marvin Bagley.
Schwartz has consistently been among the top-earning agents in the NBA, including this year. He represents seven maxed-out players, according to Hoopshype.com, and 12 players who have been All-Stars.
Wiseman will leave Memphis having played just three games. They were impressive games—he averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. But for a player who will be in the mix for the No. 1 slot in the draft, leaving school while still having eligibility was a difficult decision. Wiseman could have been reinstated by the NCAA on January 12.
In a message on Instagram on Thursday, Wiseman wrote:
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
Scouts Still Think James Wiseman Can Be NBA Draft’s No. 1 Pick
Many scouts think Wiseman, listed at 7-1, still will be the No. 1 pick, unless that pick goes to a team among the worst in the league that is in need of a point guard, which only represents a small handful.
Teams like Atlanta, Golden State, Cleveland, Washington, Memphis and San Antonio have either young point guards or highly paid point guards and would be more likely to shy away from taking a point guard and, in those cases, Wiseman would likely be the top pick.
“He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s well-rounded, he has high basketball IQ,” one scout told Heavy.com. “He’s a good kid and a smart kid. He plays hard, he can shoot the 3 and he controls the airspace around the rim. That’s what NBA teams need out of big guys these days. The knock on him has been that he disappears at times but he played for good teams and if you watch film, he is always making good plays for his team even if he is not dominating the ball. I think of him as a bit like Draymond Green but bigger and bouncier.”
Even as he disappears from sight as a collegiate star and is not likely to reappear until the 2020 draft begins to near, Wiseman won’t go away completely. He is now eligible to sign endorsement deals and, with his status as a sure Top 3 pick no matter how the top of the lottery plays out, he will be able to make money off his likeness and signature.
As for Memphis, which is still 9-1 even with only limited appearances by Wiseman, Hardaway and the university expressed support for Wiseman’s decision.
“Although disappointing, the U of M supports James and his family in his decision to leave to prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft,” a statement from the school said, “and will continue to follow James in what will certainly prove to be a successful career.”