Memphis men’s basketball on Thursday declared freshman center James Wiseman ineligible to play after he dropped a lawsuit against the NCAA.

The Tigers also said they will apply for Wiseman’s reinstatement by the association.

The lawsuit Wiseman filed last week was essentially a restraining order and allowed him to play after the NCAA claimed he was ineligible because Memphis coach Penny Hardaway paid the center’s mother roughly $11,500 for moving expenses after he relocated from Nashville in the summer of 2017. The Tigers claimed they were unaware of the payment. Hardaway was Wiseman’s AAU coach at the time and ultimately coached him at Memphis East High School. Wiseman’s lawyers said in a statement that their client was dropping the suit because it had “become an impediment” to the Tigers’ attempts to come to a fair agreement with the NCAA about his eligibility status.


Wiseman last played in Memphis’s (2-1) 82-74 loss to Oregon on Tuesday. In his first three games this season, he averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3 blocks. A county judge in Tennessee allowed him to play in the Tigers’ 92-46 thrashing of the UIC Flames on Friday after issuing a restraining order.

The 7-foot, 240-pound Wiseman is the top-ranked prospect in the 2019 class and is speculated to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NBA draft. He will surely garner much attention in the coming weeks given the increasing national attention on the scandal involving college basketball coaches and Adidas executives making illegal payments to the families of newly-recruited NCAA players.

Memphis is first in the American Athletic Conference and was ranked 13th in the AP Top 25 poll before the loss to Oregon. The Tigers will next host Alcorn State on Saturday.


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