MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Tigers men’s basketball Head Coach Penny Hardaway spoke with media Friday afternoon ahead of their game against Alcorn State on Saturday.
Hardaway spoke for the first time since James Wiseman announced Thursday that he would be dropping his lawsuit against the NCAA and University of Memphis after he was deemed ineligible to play.
The university released a statement shortly after the news broke, saying they support the decision and have declared him ineligible to play.
Hardaway also expressed his support, on behalf of the team.
“Well obviously all of this is tough, but we support James on everything. We obviously understand the difficulty for an 18-year-old to be going through this and the NCAA has a job to do. At the end of the day, we support James and his family and his representation,” said Hardaway.
Hardaway says Wiseman has loved the nationwide support he's gotten but the situation has been difficult for him.
“He's just really confused, like really confused. He's an 18-year-old kid. He's like really hurt that they're trying to take games away from him. And he wants to play, all he wants to do is play basketball,” said Hardawy.
Hardaway was named a booster for UofM after giving a $1 million donation to the school in 2008.
When Hardaway spent $11,000 to move Wiseman's family to Memphis in 2017, that was allegedly a violation of NCAA rules.
Hardaway was asked if he believes he broke an NCAA rule.
He said, “No comment."
Wiseman and his legal team filed for and won a temporary restraining order against the NCAA, allowing him to play in the last two games. Thursday, Wiseman’s lawyers dropped their lawsuit against the NCAA and Wiseman was ruled ineligible.
Hardaway and Wiseman anxiously await an NCAA ruling.
“We haven't heard anything and that's what we're waiting on. That's what's been the biggest problem. We want to know,” said Hardaway.
Penny said ideally, Wiseman wouldn't face a suspension. But overall, he doesn't have any regrets.
He says the publicity and the battle has helped the program.
“I think it helps because they understand that I’m with my guys and I have my guys back,” said Hardaway.