Tigers head coach says James Wiseman will continue to play

Published: Nov. 8, 2019 at 10:49 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tigers basketball player James Wiseman was on the court for Friday night’s game, even though the NCAA says he is likely not eligible to play.

A judge ruled Wiseman could play in the game as a lawsuit over the issue is sorted out.

Despite the dark cloud and uncertainty of James Wiseman's long-term eligibility hanging over the team, the 14th ranked Tigers steamrolled University of Illinois-Chicago 92-46 at FedExForum.

Wiseman, who was granted a temporary restraining order against the NCAA's ruling, showed up to FedExForum about 30 minutes before tip off.

He was met by supportive fans and loud cheers, and the nation's top freshman balled out on the court as well.

Finishing the game with 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.

Wiseman was not made available to speak to us after the game.

His teammates were told not to talk about his eligibility concerns as well.

Head coach Penny Hardaway opened his press conference by saying as much as he'd like to talk about it, he can't because this is an ongoing situation.

Penny did say James will play moving forward. He was very firm in saying that.

He also indicated James and this team overall is firmly focused on the basketball side of things.

"Obviously an 18-year-old kid having this kind of attention in this moment, I’m sure he was a little nervous, but he went out there and played his heart out,” said Hardaway. “Had five blocks in the first half. Only got one touch, and how many fouls he drew, but for the game he drew like maybe 10 or 11 fouls. So, to me he was still business as usual. We’re still in a season. We’re right in the beginning of a season, and we have some tough games coming up, and this next one is the toughest so fa, and we just have to stay locked in.”

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