Two Memphis East basketball players have been ruled ineligible for the 2017-18 season after the TSSAA determined Wednesday the school had violated the state’s “prior link” rule for transfers.
Memphis East is ranked No. 3 in the Super 25 preseason boys basketball rankings.
Though the statement does not name the players, there are two who have moved to East and had a prior athletic connection with East head coach Penny Hardaway: Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman.
Over the summer, both Boyce, who signed with UAB on Monday, and Wiseman, a top-five national recruit in the class of 2019, played for Team Penny, a Memphis-based grassroots organization that Hardaway began sponsoring in 2012.
The under-17 team that both Boyce and Wiseman played on this year was coached by former Arkansas star and NBA player Todd Day.
The rule states that if a student with an athletic record transfers to a new school where an athletic coaching link existed within the previous 12 months, than that student is ineligible at his new school.
East will appeal the decision during a meeting of the TSSAA’s executive council Thursday at 3 p.m. Attempts to reach Hardaway and East principal Dr. Marilyn Hilliard were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Boyce transferred from Houston while Wiseman played last season at Nashville Ensworth. Both were expected to play big roles for the two-time defending Class AAA champs, ranked preseason No. 1 nationally by at least two media outlets in the preseason.
The 6-11 Wiseman is considered by some outlets to be the top-ranked national prospect in the class of 2018 while Boyce, an outstanding athlete with a high motor, was expected to replace the highly-regarded T.J. Moss, who transferred to Findlay Prep in Nevada for his senior season.
USA TODAY High School Sports contributed to this report