NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Oregon

Nov 12, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman (32) watches the scoreboard during player introductions prior to the game against the Oregon Ducks at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis freshman center James Wiseman has dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA, his attorneys announced in a statement Thursday, with the school moving forward to officially restore his eligibility.

The NCAA ruled Friday that Wiseman was "likely ineligible" for receiving improper benefits when he was in high school, with the Tigers electing to play him anyway in games against Illinois-Chicago and Oregon after Wiseman filed his lawsuit.

With Wiseman's lawsuit now dropped, Memphis immediately declared its star player ineligible while moving to apply for his reinstatement.

"It has become clear to Mr. Wiseman that the lawsuit he filed last week has become an impediment to the University of Memphis in it's (sic) efforts to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the NCAA regarding his eligibility status," the statement from Wiseman's attorneys read.

Memphis followed with its own statement.

"The University supports the decision, as it believes it is in James' and the men's basketball team's best interest to resolve is eligibility issue expeditiously through the NCAA process," the school's statement said.

Wiseman, a 7-footer, was the top-rated recruit in the 2019 class in the 247Sports composite ratings and is considered a potential No. 1 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Wiseman made his debut for No. 13 Memphis last week in a 97-64 win over South Carolina State, scoring 28 points with 11 rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes. He made 11 of 14 shots from the field.

He played again Friday night in a 92-46 win over Illinois-Chicago, scoring 17 points, pulling down nine rebounds and blocking five shots. In an 82-74 loss to Oregon on Tuesday at Portland, Ore., he had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Attorney Leslie Ballin said the NCAA determined that Memphis coach Penny Hardaway -- before he was hired by the university -- provided $11,500 to help Wiseman and his family to move from Nashville, Tenn., to Memphis in 2017. The assistance was unknown to Wiseman, the school said.

Hardaway, who previously coached Wiseman on the grassroots basketball circuit, coached Wiseman at East High in the 2017-18 season before taking the head coaching job with the Tigers for the 2018-19 season.

Wiseman signed a letter of intent at Memphis in November 2018.

Memphis has not wavered in its support for both Wiseman and Hardaway, expressing that again in Thursday's statement. Wiseman will continue to practice with the team until his eligibility issue is resolved.

"The NCAA is fully aware of the unique nature and challenges in this particular case, and the University is confident that the NCAA will render a fair and equitable decision consistent with its mission," the Memphis statement read.

--Field Level Media

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