Nation's top basketball recruit ruled ineligible, judge signs order to let him play

Memphis center James Wiseman has a temporary restraining order to play while he fights an NCAA ruling claiming he's ineligible. (WMC)
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WKYT/WMC) - The NCAA has ruled the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2019 ineligible to play.

James Wiseman is a 7-foot-1 freshman center at the University of Memphis.

Wiseman chose the Tigers over Kentucky in November of 2018.

Memphis attorney Blake Ballin told WMC News the ruling stemmed from Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway’s role in helping Wiseman’s family move to Memphis from Nashville when he was in high school in 2017, before Hardaway became the head coach at Memphis.

But a Shelby County chancellor has signed a temporary order allowing Wiseman to play.

Wiseman scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Memphis' 97-64 victory Tuesday night over South Carolina State in the season-opener. He made 11-of-14 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws in his debut.

The University of Memphis released the following statement:

Based on a rule interpretation issued by the NCAA, University of Memphis freshman men’s basketball student-athlete James Wiseman was going to be withheld from competition. However, based on an emergency temporary restraining order issued late today by the courts, James will participate in tonight’s game. The University is currently working with the NCAA staff to restore his playing status, and we are hopeful for a speedy resolution to the matter.

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