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Could Tony Barbee be headed to Memphis?

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.

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?

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

20 Comments for Could Tony Barbee be headed to Memphis?

  1. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
    1:11 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Just as long as DJ doesn’t follow then I’m fine with it, Barbee was his lead recruiter. Barbee should probably be the HC at Memphis, not Penny.

    • FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
      1:14 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

      It’s worth nothing that Antigua has been on the recruiting trail the past couple of weeks for U of I, it’s been HC Brad Underwood taking recruiting into his own hands for the most part. Just something to keep in mind.

    • satcheluk
      10:36 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

      Has or hasn’t?

  2. UKinIN
    1:28 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    If Memphis is hiring Hardaway because of his current AAU roster they’ll be looking for a new head coach in another two years.

    • Rembrandt
      6:18 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

      Agree with that. The staff shakeup rumor comes from the same clueless sources that want Antigua back. And, all rumors aside, who in their right mind would actually expect Tony Barbee to make a lateral move from UK assistant to Memphis assistant? The idea is ridiculous. Barbee is a personal friend of Cal. Barbee just scored Jeffries’ verbal. The only way Barbee leaves is if he scores a head coaching job.

  3. unbridled
    1:53 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t think Memphis knows if they are coming or going. Why would tong Barbee consider an assistant position at Memphis when he is already an assistant at the university of Kentucky? That doesn’t make sense to me unless he will be looking for a job and not by his choice. Is that what the article is implying?

  4. Lahinch02
    2:07 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    I suspect Barbee is departing regardless. Question is does Cal go with a young guy, or maybe even Mark Fox – his recruiting at UGa improved every year and he seems to have an eye for the 3/4 year player to develop. Nonetheless, in Cal I trust.

  5. StuckinLville
    2:13 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    I know Cal is close to Barbee, but he was not a good hire. Everything I read from Auburn it seems they did not like him and he came off as cocky and arrogant. It’s time for Cal to rebrand anyway so getting a new assistant will help. But until Jefd Capel stops paying people, it won’t matter.

  6. Han
    2:54 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Plenty of people have been calling for a staff shakeup, but most of us were a fan of Penny coming here, not one of our guys joining him.

    And while I agree Barbee isn’t a great coach, I believe he’s the guy who knew and taught Zone on this staff. We know Cal hates it, but he’s talked about Barbee knowing Zone. There were times this year it really helped us.

  7. Cryingtheblues
    3:03 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Bye Bye!

  8. trumpetguy
    3:08 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    If karma is anything, how about Ricky P to Memphis? He, Tubby, Cal just interchanging paths…..Penny Hardaway already with a huge recruiting advantage, at least for the time being…..If I may now ask a serious question: What academic requirements are required to be an assistant at UK or another Div 1 institution? Is just an undergraduate degree sufficient, or an MBA required? There are probably several former UK players who would jump at the chance to return to UK, many who have NBA backgrounds, a little “street cred” to boot……

  9. Kat4Life
    3:36 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    If he goes, I wish him the best. Just stay the hell off of James Wiseman

  10. michaelb
    3:50 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    I think it’s all just an attempt to get U.K. Shook up behind the scenes

  11. Cmart0907
    4:16 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Just add Penny Hardaway to the staff. Ease his way into the college coaching world.

  12. BigBlueNationDude
    6:45 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink


  13. Alleykat16
    7:01 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Cal needs to shake things up on this coaching staff. UK for no reason should lose out on the recruits that we have in the last few years. So some fresh blood is what needs to happen and get the recruiting straighten out.

  14. east-ky-boy
    10:15 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Bring back coach O!

  15. UKfanman01
    10:34 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    I won’t give away sources, and it’s a close one, but they have said Barbee is gone. I’ve known this for a while now

  16. Rabbi Li
    11:37 pm March 18, 2018 Permalink

    Orlando Antigua walk through that door!