MEMPHIS, Tenn. — James Wiseman had 17 points and nine rebounds hours after getting a temporary restraining order to play amid an NCAA ineligibility ruling, leading No. 14 Memphis past Illinois-Chicago 92-46 on Friday night.
Memphis said Wiseman — the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA draft — was declared eligible by the NCAA in May but further details and investigation by the university and the NCAA found coach Penny Hardaway gave $11,500 in moving expenses to help Wiseman’s family move from Nashville to Memphis in the summer of 2017. The university said Wiseman didn’t know about the money given to his family.
At the time, Hardaway was the coach of East High School. Wiseman was a standout junior, helping Hardaway win his third straight Tennessee Class AAA title before being hired by Memphis as in March 2018. Wiseman committed to Memphis and Hardaway again in November 2018.
Wiseman started and Memphis (2-0) immediately took a double-digit lead leaving the only doubt of the night the status of the 7-foot freshman who could be the top pick in next summer in the NBA draft.
There were several hours of drama prior to tipoff. Less than two hours before the game, Wiseman’s attorney, Leslie Ballin, announced that the NCAA had ruled Wiseman ineligible. The lower court ruling reinstated him came a short time later.
With all of the attention on Wiseman, Boogie Ellis — another freshman among coach Penny Hardaway’s highly touted class — scored 22 points. He made eight of his 11 shots, going 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and helped Memphis (2-0) shoot 59% for the game.
Brian Taylor led Illinois-Chicago with 11 points, and Godwin Boahen had 10. The Flames (1-1) shot 24% had 19 turnovers.
Illinois-Chicago: The Flames shot 20% in the first half and committed 13 turnovers to trail by 31 points. That pretty well put to rest any chance of an upset.
Memphis: While Memphis easily won its second game of the season, Wiseman’s status and thus the impact on the Tigers was uncertain.
Illinois-Chicago: Hosts Ball State on Wednesday night.
Memphis: Plays Oregon in Portland next Tuesday night.