Sport: Hardaway: Swift resolution from NCAA on Wiseman 'would be ideal'

Opinion: Do the right thing NCAA, and free Memphis' James Wiseman

  Opinion: Do the right thing NCAA, and free Memphis' James Wiseman James Wiseman's NCAA eligibility story at Memphis is complicated, but it has one innocent party: James Wiseman, the likely top pick in 2020 NBA Draft.That’s the compassionate thing — the right thing — for the NCAA to do. Let Wiseman continue to play this season for Memphis and, yes, for Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, who technically, apparently, allegedly broke NCAA rules in 2017 when Wiseman was a high school player and Hardaway was a high school coach.

A little more than 24 hours after James Wiseman officially dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA, his coach said the university and the Memphis basketball program are stuck playing a waiting game.

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  Can James Wiseman and Memphis topple the NCAA as we know it? | Giannotto -

Penny Hardaway, speaking to reporters Friday afternoon during a regular pre-gameday news conference, said he doesn’t know much in the way of specifics when it comes to what the NCAA’s ruling will be, when it will be handed down, or what it will look like.

“We haven’t heard anything,” Hardaway said. “That’s what we’re waiting on. That’s been the biggest problem. We want to know. We’re still waiting (to hear from the NCAA) on Isaiah Stokes (and his eligibility after transferring from Florida), so we’re just in limbo right now.”

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Memphis declared Wiseman ineligible Thursday after he dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA, announcing the Tigers’ star center will not play until the NCAA’s reinstatement staff hands down its decision. Wiseman, considered the likely No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is still allowed to practice with the team.

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Hardaway said the most he can hope for is a swift resolution.

“(Best-case scenario would be) that the reinstatement happens quickly and he doesn’t have to miss any games,” he said. “That would be ideal.”

Hardaway said Wiseman has handled the situation as well as can be expected. 

"He's just really confused," Hardaway said. "Like, really confused. Like I said, he's an 18-year-old kid. He's really, like, hurt that they're trying to take games away from him. All he wants to do is play basketball. He tells the players and has told me plenty of times through this entire process that he's happy for his brothers and his family, and 'We'll get past this.' James is a very brilliant kid. He understands what's going on, but it still hurts."

The Tigers will host Alcorn State at 1 p.m. Saturday. If Memphis has to take the floor without its preseason All-American, Hardaway is confident his team is well suited to take care of business.

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“We’ve been here, in the two exhibition games. We went to the Bahamas (and Wiseman didn’t play),” he said. “Obviously, the rest of the crew is well prepared to go out and play. We’d love to have him. But until we find out, the other guys are more than ready to go.”

The last time the Tigers played without Wiseman, the team’s other five-star big man, Precious Achiuwa, took on the majority of responsibility at the center spot. Hardaway said that’s not the plan this time around.

“We really don’t want to do that that much,” he said. “We’re going to have to ask Lance Thomas and Isaiah Maurice to really step it up at the five spot. Because we kind of want to keep Precious at his regular position. If we have to (have him) go to the five, that just means we’re desperate to do that.”

Reach sports writer Jason Munz at [email protected] or on Twitter @munzly.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis basketball: What Penny Hardaway said about James Wiseman waiting on NCAA reinstatement

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