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College star James Wiseman ends amateur career after just 3 games, preps for NBA

The 7-foot-1 prospect's unprecedented move still keeps him "one-and-done" eligible.
Memphis center James Wiseman drives to the basket as Oregon guards defend on Nov. 12, 2019.
Memphis center James Wiseman drives to the basket as Oregon guards defend on Nov. 12, 2019.Craig Mitchelldyer / AP file

University of Memphis basketball star James Wiseman announced Thursday that he's ended his college career after just three games and will prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

Wiseman's unprecedented move still keeps him within draft eligibility rules, which bar players from entering the league unless they're at least 19 or one year out of high school.

"Today I formally withdrew from the University of Memphis and I will be preparing for the next chapter of my life," the 7-foot-1 Wiseman wrote on his Instagram page.

"Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been a dream of mine to play in the NBA. Throughout this process, I’ve asked God to ordain my steps and lead me in the right direction. God is my lord and salvation, and throughout this process he has comforted me."

The NBA's so-called "one-and-done" rule has been in place since 2006, afters years of pro basketball's top players — such as Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant — coming straight out of high school.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this year he's seeking an end to the current standard, which forces many of the top young players into a perfunctory year on a college campus.

Wiseman on Thursday thanked his college teammates of three games.

"This was not how I expected my freshman season to be, but I’m thankful for everyone who has supported my family and me throughout this process," Wiseman wrote.

"I want to thank the coaches and staff for all their support and my teammates for pushing me everyday at practice. I feel blessed for the opportunity to be a Tiger and for having the honor to play with these special group of guys. I can’t wait to see what all they accomplish this season."

Wiseman's Memphis career was limited by his ongoing battle against the NCAA, the governing body of college sports, which had ruled him ineligible due to benefits he received from a Tigers booster in summer 2017.

That booster was former Tigers star Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, hired by the university as head coach in 2018, and the benefit was helping Wiseman's family move to Memphis from Nashville.

Wiseman played in three games for Memphis, Nov. 5, 8 and 12 and averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in that limited action.

A mock draft published by last week pegged Wiseman as the second overall pick. Another mock draft, compiled by Bleacher Report and posted on last week, put Wiseman at No. 3.

Reps for the NBA and players union could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.