Attorney accuses John Calipari of playing role in NCAA ruling James Wiseman ineligible
Memphis 5-star freshman James Wiseman has been through a lot over the last week, but Friday added another twist to his story.
Ohio-based attorney Richard Johnson said he believes Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari played a role in the NCAA reopening Wiseman’s case, which ultimately ruled him ineligible last Friday.
“I know how the NCAA works,” Johnson told The Daily Helmsman on Thursday. “That file was closed. They deal with hundreds of thousands of athlete certifications every year. Once the file is closed, it does not get reopened. That is, unless someone with a lot of power wants it to be reopened. There is no reason for this to be reopened unless someone wants it to. My guess is that it is the University of Kentucky—they’re the ones who have the motive.”
Wiseman, who was the top-rated player in the 2019 recruiting class, committed to Memphis instead of blue blood programs such as Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina. In May, his status was cleared following an inquiry into Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, who gave Wiseman’s mother $11,500 for moving expenses in 2017 before he was the Memphis head coach.
Wiseman played in his first game on Nov. 5 and then three days later, he was ineligible again.
According to The Daily Helmsman, three of the nine incoming freshman for Memphis this season were also considering Kentucky but chose the Tigers instead. Memphis landed the top recruiting class in the country for 2019.
That makes Calipari an easy target, especially with his less than stellar past. Before Kentucky, Calipari coached at Memphis, taking the Tigers to the 2008 national championship. But in 2009, the NCAA forced Memphis to vacate its 38 wins and the Final Four appearance from that season because of player ineligibility issues.
Still, Johnson is going to need more than circumventing evidence to convince the public Calipari is participating in more foul play.