High school of James Wiseman, coach Penny Hardaway stripped of championship

Photo: Andrew Jansen/News-Leader

High school of James Wiseman, coach Penny Hardaway stripped of championship

Boys Basketball

High school of James Wiseman, coach Penny Hardaway stripped of championship


East High School (Memphis, Tenn.) has been stripped of its 2018 championship for its recruitment violations in the pursuit of James Wiseman, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association ordered the school to vacate all wins from Wiseman’s two seasons on the team. The TSSAA also fined the school $14,807.56, which includes postseason winnings. Wiseman and East High School won the championship in 2018 and reached the championship game again in 2019.

Wiseman was widely regarded as one of the best players in the class of 2019 throughout his high school career. He played for Team Penny in the 2017 AAU summer season and then enrolled at East High in August 2017, which was coached at the time by Penny Hardaway. Hardaway became the coach of the University of Memphis in 2018, ahead of Wiseman’s senior season—a year in which the star center was considered by many to be the No. 1 player in the class and was named the national Gatorade boys basketball player of the year.

Wiseman followed Hardaway to Memphis but was ruled ineligible after appearing in only three games when the NCAA found Hardaway provided Wiseman’s mother $11,500 in support for moving expenses for relocation and moving in 2017 as Wiseman transferred from Ensworth School (Nashville, Tenn.) to East High in Memphis. In making the payment, Wiseman acted as a booster, the NCAA said.

The TSSAA found that this payment was also a violation of its high school recruiting rules. The association sent a letter to East High on Aug. 24, 2022, outlining the school’s violation and punishment. The letter was obtained by the Commercial Appeal.

All wins from the school in which Wiseman appeared were retroactively forfeited. Championship wins were vacated. The school was fined $100 for each game in which Wiseman participated, totaling $6,600, and another $8,200, the amount the high school earned in winnings from TSSAA championship series in which Wiseman played.

Hardaway released a statement to the Commercial Appeal that read:

“I’m disappointed to learn of this decision. However, it doesn’t erase the lives that were changed and the positive impacts on our youth that were made during my time at East High School.

Wiseman was drafted No. 2 overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2020. He appeared in 39 games as a rookie and missed the entirety of the 2021-22 season due to a meniscus tear in his right knee suffered in the 2020-21 season.

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