NCAA: Reforming College Basketball

University of Memphis center James Wiseman has been ruled ineligible to play this year in the NCAA. The collegiate league deemed that he received "too many benefits" from his coach, former NBA star Penny Hardaway.

The NCAA is an amateur league. It has restrictions on the compensation a player can receive to play for a specific team. It is what separates them from a professional association such as the NBA. According to NBC Sports, The NCAA investigation showed that Wiseman played for Hardaway in East High in 2017-2018. When Coach Hardaway was hired as the University of Memphis Tigers' head coach, he brought Wiseman with him and even (partially) paid for his and his family's transfer to Memphis.

University of Memphis lawyers filed a restraining order on the NCAA ruling right away, allowing Wiseman to play against the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The 7-foot-tall center is one of the three players predicted to possibly be the number 1 draft pick next year. Being the only center of the three, and with the NBA's insatiable need for true centers, his position as a potential the number 1 draft pick is strong.

He is not just a tall player, he is quick on his feet and a capable defender. Like the young Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, and Shaquille O'Neil, he knows how to use his height and mobility to play in the modern game.

However, if the NCAA ruling holds, it may put a damper on the young player's career. Following the 2006 High School Draft ban, players such as Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, NBA superstars that never played in college, will never be seen again. The NBA believes that the three are exceptions to the rule, and a majority of players in high school will never make it to the NBA.

Thinking about the young players' best interest (or at least the majority of them), they have to complete a college degree on an athletic scholarship and play as a professional later if they qualify. Wiseman played enough years for Memphis to circumvent the stricter requirements of the draft ban. If the NCAA ban holds, he would have to spend his last year in Memphis as a spectator and not as a player. That means he won't be able to showcase his talents and raise his chances of becoming the no. 1 draft pick.

Penny Hardaway
Former NBA player Penny Hardaway is now the head coach of the University of Memphis Tigers and is at the center of a controversy with star player James Wiseman. Photo By: Matthew Johnson - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45389951 Matthew Johnson/Wikimedia Commons