James Wiseman was moved to tears after the Warriors picked him with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday night.
ESPN's cameras caught the 19-year-old center's emotional reaction of learning the news that he'd be headed to Golden State.
The Warriors drafted Wiseman nearly one year after he left the Memphis men's basketball program. Wiseman left school last December and declared for the 2020 NBA Draft while serving a 12-game suspension for "recruiting inducements his family received" in 2017. Penny Hardaway, then the coach at Memphis' East High School, gave Wiseman's family $11,500 to cover expenses for their move from Nashville.
Hardaway recruited Wiseman to play for the University of Memphis, and the NCAA determined Hardaway was acting as a university booster when he covered the Wiseman family's expenses. Wiseman played just three games for Memphis, and he told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski in February that he felt the punishment was "unfair."
Just after the Warriors picked him, Wiseman told ESPN's Malika Andrews he was grateful for the experience.
"[Me] going through that adversity made me stronger as a person, and I'm truly ready to go to Golden State, and to go and learn as much as possible, and just be the best version of me and work every day."
Wiseman has an attribute that both star guard Steph Curry and coach Steve Kerr highlighted as a major need for the Warriors: Size. The 7-foot-1, 247-pound center boasts an impressive 7-6 wingspan. Wiseman averaged 3.0 blocks in the three games he played for Memphis last season.
As far as his skill set, the young big man said he'll bring "versatility" to the Warriors.
"Being able to rebound, run the floor, block shots and just space the floor out for my size," Wiseman told Andrews. "I've been playing a lot of pickup games this summer, and I've just really been improving my game. So I'm ready, and I'm prepared."
As the Warriors' first lottery selection since 2012 (Harrison Barnes) and their first top-three pick since '02 (Mike Dunleavy Jr.), Wiseman is coming to the Bay with a big spotlight on him. It might shine even brighter when he makes his NBA debut next month.
Star guard Klay Thompson sustained a right leg injury hours before the draft Wednesday, and two league sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole "looked bad." The severity of the injury still is to be determined, though The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Thompson is "feared" to have injured his heel.