James Wiseman High School coach Penny Hardaway is stripped of the championship

East High School (Memphis, TN) stripped of its 2018 championship due to recruiting violations in pursuit of James Wiseman, according to 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 earnings. 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 top players in the 2019 class 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 at the time was coached by Penny Hardaway. Hardaway became the coach at the University of Memphis in 2018, before 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 Gatorade boys basketball national player of the year.

Wiseman followed Hardaway to Memphis, but was ruled ineligible after appearing in just three games when the NCAA found that Hardaway had provided Wiseman’s mother with $11,500 in transportation assistance to move and relocate in 2017 when Wiseman transferred from Ensworth School (Nashville, Tennessee) to East High in Memphis. By making the payment, Wiseman was acting as an accessory, the NCAA said.

The TSSAA found that payment to also be a violation of high school recruiting rules. The association sent a letter to East High on August 24, 2022, detailing the violation and the school’s punishment. The a letter was received from the trade complaint.

Any wins from the school Wiseman appeared in were retroactively forfeited. Championship wins were cancelled. The school was fined $100 for each game Wiseman appeared in, a total of $6,600, and another $8,200, the amount the high school earned in TSSAA championship series winnings in which Wiseman appeared.

Hardaway released a statement to the Commercial Appeal that read:

“I am disappointed to learn of this decision. However, this does not erase the lives that have been changed and the positive impact on our youth that has been 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 entire 2021-22 season due to a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered during the 2020-21 season.

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