MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The basketball odyssey that took James Wiseman from Nashville to East High to the University of Memphis has reached its Zenith for the young man called The Unicorn by Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway.
James Wiseman’s dreams finally came true. But, for a while, it was a nightmare for the former Memphis Tiger big man who entered college as the top high school player in America out of East High School.
The Golden State Warriors drafting the 7′1″ athletic center with the second overall pick. Celebrating in his living room in Nashville with none other than Penny Hardaway.
Penny Coached Wiseman in AAU, and at East, before taking the Memphis job. That relationship drew the attention of the NCAA, which suspended Wiseman for 12 games in his freshman year for recruiting violations.
Wiseman, who played just three games for the Tigers, left Memphis after serving three games of the suspension to bet on himself as a top NBA prospect.
“I text my teammates every day in Memphis,” said Wiseman. “I wanted that moment with my teammates, being able to see all that. Just becoming like a downfall. I just had to bust out in tears cause I went through a lot of adversity in my life, but I’m ready to go into Golden State with a great mindset, with a different mindset, ready to go in there, and just learn as much as possible, grow my game and just adapt.”
Wiseman has become the 14th Memphis Tiger drafted to play in the NBA. Penny Hardaway, now the only NCAA head coach in history to be a top three draft pick and also coach a former player taken in the top three.