James Wiseman entered the University of Memphis as the early favorite to be selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. While that distinction is still very much in play, his road to getting there was severely complicated by the NCAA. After only a single game, he was suspended for 12 more thanks to his acceptance of $11,500 in moving expenses from Memphis coach Penny Hardaway. Wiseman played two more games before dropping his appeal and eventually dropping out of the university altogether.
Now he is preparing for the NBA Draft, but thoughts of what happened to him in college still linger. Unlike many college stars who view their lone amateur seasons as a pathway to the pros, Wiseman explained in a revealing interview with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that playing for Memphis genuinely mattered to him, and the NCAA's punishment still hurts even as he gets closer to ultimately reaching the NBA.
"I wanted to have a great collegiate career," Wiseman told ESPN. "I wanted to win a national championship. But throughout the course of the first two games, everything started to go down in terms of my mental [well-being]. I was getting depressed. It was dehumanizing for me.