Barring a catastrophic breakdown of events, Memphis East High School basketball coach and former NBA great Penny Hardaway is set to become the next head coach at Memphis.
We’ve discussed the impact Hardaway’s hire will make on Kentucky in the recruiting department, specifically centered around 2019 No. 1 James Wiseman. Hardaway is Wiseman’s head coach in both high school and AAU ball, and there is certainly mutual respect between both parties.
Now it looks like there are even more Kentucky connections in this hiring.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken is reporting UK assistant coach Tony Barbee is a major candidate for an assistant position on Hardaway’s staff.
I’m told Memphis is targeting Tuesday for the Penny Hardaway festivities. Sounds like things are pretty far along on staff. Two former Memphis/Calipari assistants in Steve Roccaforte and Tony Barbee are staff candidates, per source
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 18, 2018
Barbee was an assistant under Calipari at Memphis from 2000-2006, where he then became a head coach from 2006-2014 at both UTEP and Auburn. After being fired at Auburn, he joined Calipari’s staff at UK as an assistant.
There have been rumors that the Kentucky coaching staff may see some changes this offseason, specifically when it comes to the recruiting department. After missing out on elite prospects such as RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, Marvin Bagley Jr., Mohamed Bamba, etc. over the last few years, Coach Cal may be looking for fresh faces on staff to flip that momentum back Kentucky’s direction.
Could this be step one of that scenery change?