A groundbreaking decision has occurred in NCAA basketball, one that may shape the decisions of future prospects for the NBA. James Wiseman has announced on instagram that he is declaring for the NBA draft early, and he will be using an agent to smooth the process. In the future, we could see a growing number of NCAA players emulate this decision, focusing on their impact on social media instead of impact in the NCAA. After the 2018 basketball season, the NCAA allowed some of its players to adopt agents if they were seeking NBA careers. Emphasis on the word ‘some’ as the NCAA outlines very clearly that this approval is for guidance, and not much more. But we may see in the near future, as with the case of Wiseman, players bypassing this structure completely and declaring for the NBA sooner.
The collegiate sample size for Wiseman almost couldn’t be smaller, as he played only three games in his first year, this year. Wiseman has only played three games due to a 12 game suspension handed down by the NCAA earlier this season. The suspension came about because Wiseman’s current coach, Penny Hardaway, allegedly gave $11,500 to Wiseman’s mother before Hardaway accepted the University of Memphis head coaching job. Wiseman was set to rejoin his squad on January 12th, 2020. However, Wiseman chose to bypass that period by signing an agent and declaring for the NCAA draft.
Wiseman’s stats were impressive in those three games, but one must remember the sample size. Wiseman averaged almost 20 points, 10.7 boards, and 3 blocks per game in this span. The 7’1″ center is projected to be the #3 overall draft pick in the 2020 NBA draft, per ESPN. Extra time in the weight room may help a rather slender looking Wiseman, but one wonders if time off the court may hurt his experience level going into an 82 game season with the best players in the world.
In High School, Wiseman won the Gatorade National Boy’s Player of the Year. This athletic behemoth averaged 25.8 PPG/ 14.8 RPG/ and 5.5 BPG his senior season. He was highly recruited, but ended up settling on a school right in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
Once upon a time in NCAA basketball, ‘one and done’s’ became a regular occurrence. With Kentucky they became regular, and with Duke the basketball world was horrified with Austin Rivers’ decision to leave after just one year. If Duke couldn’t keep people for three years plus, then no one could. Perhaps the question that we start to ask now, is if people will disregard the NCAA more and more, and start making their way into the NBA directly from high school. LeBron James bypassed college, and he was supposed to be the last of a dying breed in that respect. What will come of NCAA basketball if they can’t keep players for longer than three games now?
Or, on the other side of things, is this just such a strange occurrence that we need not worry about it at all? This move may have been fueled by social media, a platform in which future stars can make money off their abilities without even risking injury. One wonders if this is special set of circumstances, or if others will copy Wiseman’s path of bypassing the NCAA completely.