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Sport James Wiseman didn't play, but he loomed large in Memphis basketball win over Alcorn State | Giannotto

00:45  17 november  2019
00:45  17 november  2019 Source:   commercialappeal.com

Memphis basketball, Penny Hardaway are taking a big risk with James Wiseman | Giannotto

  Memphis basketball, Penny Hardaway are taking a big risk with James Wiseman | Giannotto There was risk and reward to be had when it came to hiring Penny Hardaway as Memphis men's basketball coach. The risk arrived Friday night.The rewards have been plentiful thus far. A No. 1 recruiting class. A full FedExForum. A national championship contender. A return to relevancy, both locally and across the college basketball world.

James Wiseman smiled because what else can he do at this point? 

a man standing in front of a crowd: Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman smiles from the bench as he waits on a decision from the NCAA concerning his eligability, while his teammates play against Alcorn State at the FedExForum on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. © Joe Rondone, Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman smiles from the bench as he waits on a decision from the NCAA concerning his eligability, while his teammates play against Alcorn State at the FedExForum on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

Seated in one of the courtside seats lining the sideline at FedExForum Saturday afternoon watching his teammates warm up without him, young fans asked for photos and adults offered encouraging words. Then one man walked up wearing a Tiger blue “Free Wiseman” T-shirt.

So, of course, Wiseman smiled again. 

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  Can James Wiseman and Memphis topple the NCAA as we know it? | Giannotto Memphis, through its support of James Wiseman and Penny Hardaway, is electing to be the first university to rebel in the growing war against the NCAA.Of how this case could be about so much more than just a top recruit and a basketball team’s season.

BOX SCORE:  NO. 13 MEMPHIS 102, ALCORN STATE 56

This was, for all intents and purposes, the most significant moment in a Memphis basketball game that was only significant because it was the first one played without Wiseman this regular season. 

That the Tigers blew out Alcorn State, 102-56, was encouraging, simply because they dominated an inferior opponent without Wiseman in a far more impressive fashion than the two exhibition games they already played with their 7-foot-1 star watching from the bench. 

But in the grand scheme of this season, Wiseman looms over everything. In the crowd at FedExForum Saturday afternoon were Leslie Ballin and Randall Fishman, the two Memphis attorneys who represented Wiseman in the lawsuit against the NCAA that was dropped earlier this week. 

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The decision prompted Memphis to declare Wiseman ineligible and then immediately file for reinstatement. The assumption is a settlement between Memphis, Wiseman and the NCAA is in the works. 

But the uncertainty of when that settlement will be announced, and what punishment it might entail, seemed to hover over Saturday’s game. Because a week from now, Ole Miss will come to FedExForum. Less than two weeks from now, the Tigers will be in Brooklyn playing North Carolina State. 

Whether Wiseman will get to play in those games is a far more pressing question than how Tyler Harris hit those two 3-pointers from different zip codes, or how Alcorn State’s Anthony Fairley managed to foul out in less than seven minutes of first-half action. 

Well, the second one is easier to answer actually. There were as many field goals made as fouls called before halftime. Apparently, the officials didn’t realize the Memphis football team was playing at Houston and Tiger fans were hoping for a quick resolution to these proceedings. 

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  Can James Wiseman and Memphis topple the NCAA as we know it? | Giannotto Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams broke a Miami Hurricanes passing record by throwing his sixth touchdown of the game against Louisville in this ACC Must See Moment!

Just as Hardaway wants a quick resolution to Wiseman’s eligibility case with the NCAA, an organization both he and the Tiger fan base are wary of trusting. All you had to do was look at Isaiah Stokes sitting next to Wiseman on the bench.

For whatever reason, the NCAA still hasn’t notified Memphis whether the Florida transfer can play this season. 

Is it merely coincidence that so many other waiver requests have been granted or denied already and Memphis is currently embroiled in this Wiseman-related tussle with the NCAA? Probably. But you probably aren't the only Memphis fan that thinks the big, bad NCAA is out to get these Tigers.

Judging by what Hardaway said Friday ahead of this game, he's one of you.

So with that in mind, if Wiseman is relegated to cheering on his teammates for awhile, if it stretches beyond a few games, there were some developments Saturday worth pointing out.

Hardaway elected to start sophomore Lance Thomas in Wiseman’s place, but ultimately freshmen Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, D.J. Jeffries and Precious Achiuwa played more minutes than anyone else. Memphis used 11 players total, applied a frantic (and effective press) and got contributions from everybody.  

James Wiseman eligibility: Explaining the NCAA questions on Penny Hardaway, Memphis star

  James Wiseman eligibility: Explaining the NCAA questions on Penny Hardaway, Memphis star Everything you need to know about James Wiseman's eligibility case at Memphis and what it means for him, the Tigers' basketball team and the NCAA going forward.Before he could even take the court for the Tigers, though, he became tangled in an eligibility case that could have lasting repercussions for the NCAA or Memphis, or both.

Quinones shined on his 19th birthday, Achiuwa kept getting to the free throw line (even though he missed 12 of his 20 foul shots), Jeffries continued to be ruthlessly efficient, Harris shook off an early-season shooting slump, and the Tigers scored 64 points in the paint.

They’ll need all that, and even better outside shooting, once the competition ramps up again.

But most of all, they'll need Wiseman.

They'll need him posing for pictures instead of posing for pictures with his Tiger blue supporters.

You can reach Commercial Appeal columnist Mark Giannotto via email at mgiannotto@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter: @mgiannotto

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: James Wiseman didn't play, but he loomed large in Memphis basketball win over Alcorn State | Giannotto

Related slideshow: 2019-20 college basketball season (Provided by imagn)

a basketball player jumping up to catch a frisbee: West Virginia Mountaineers forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. (11) goes to the basket against Pittsburgh Panthers forward Eric Hamilton (0) during the second half at the Petersen Events Center on November 15, 2019. 

3 takeaways from Memphis' basketball's win over Ole Miss .
Precious Achiuwa led Memphis to a win over Ole Miss Saturday.This is the Memphis you’ve been waiting for. OK, not quite — James Wiseman still has nine games left to sit out, per the NCAA, pending an appeal. But Saturday’s matinee meeting with Mississippi featured the kind of performance most expected when Penny Hardaway signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. It’s the kind of showing fans hadn’t yet seen — a controlled, in-rhythm outing the majority of the game and a clutch, hard-nosed ending against a quality opponent that resulted in a down-to-the-wire win.

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