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ESPN: Penny Hardaway to Memphis

Here we go. As expected, it appears Penny Hardaway is the new head coach at Memphis. Jeff Goodman is reporting that Hardaway will be introduced at a press conference tomorrow.

Of course, Hardaway coaches James Wiseman at Memphis East, which just won the Tennessee State Championship this weekend. The five-star big man has gone on record saying he wouldn’t necessarily follow Hardaway to a college coaching job, but given the close relationship between two, this certainly makes his recruitment a little more tense. Similarly, D.J. Jeffries also played for Hardaway’s EYBL team, and even though he committed to Kentucky last week, his father admitted that Hardaway at Memphis would be an intriguing option.

If you missed it yesterday, there are also reports that Kentucky assistant Tony Barbee will join Hardaway’s staff at Memphis, which could open up a spot for Orlando Antigua to return to Lexington:

Could Tony Barbee be headed to Memphis?

The college basketball recruiting scene just got a whole lot more interesting.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

36 Comments for ESPN: Penny Hardaway to Memphis

  1. KYJelly
    12:06 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    I’d rather have Coach O back to recruit than to get Wiseman. I’d rather have both,but considering Barbee has been helping recruit Wiseman, if he goes to Penny’s staff that may be TOO much for that kid not to go there

    • the ghost of Bill Hicks
      2:26 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      If Barbee leaves, Antigua should be the first call Cal makes. Can’t believe he would rather be at Illinois vs Kentucky.

  2. RealCatsFan
    12:09 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Can they not see all of these top level recruits playing for the likes of Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, etc., who either do not get to play in the tournament at all, or make an early exit? I guess the NCAA Tournament means nothing for these kids, so if that is the case, well, as Cal says, “Kentucky is not for everyone”.

  3. catsarerunnin
    12:19 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Penny will be a major fail.

  4. BTownUKFan
    12:23 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    So you fire a coach with 25 years of head coaching experience to hire a guy with NO college coaching experience. Memphis is not small time, there are enough admin responsibilities that an experienced coach will be kept busy. I have no ill will towards Penny Hardaway but it will take 5 years of struggles to get Memphis relevant in their conference again.

    • Han
      1:15 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Not to mention they already hired a guy with no head coaching experience but a reputation as a good recruiter when they hired Pastner. That did not work out.

  5. GuthrieFlash
    12:25 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    We can kiss those recruits good-bye. Tough loss for us as UK fans, but perfectly understandable on the kids’ choices.

    • Kat4Life
      2:15 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Not so fast……these kids have NBA aspirations, and frankly Cal has had a LOT more experience and success in that area. I think we get Wiseman.

    • TonyMontana
      6:55 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      I think the reason DJ Jeffries committed so early was because he felt Penny was going to Memphis and did not want to make it awkward. He’s #BBN, clearly focused on his best option to go Pro. At this point Wiseman is a toss up.

  6. Alleykat16
    12:28 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    I agree with RealCats on the subject can’t they see and understand were the best coaching staffs are by the depth they go into the tournament. And it could come down to playing time and how many shots they are going to put up. In Trea Youngs case I believe Cal had told him he wasn’t going to be able to take any shot he wanted to. That may not be right but at UK they can’t shoot any time they want to they have to sacrifice shots for the team

  7. I don’t know why Barbee would “throw shade” at Auburn like he apparently did with that tweet yesterday. He did zilch when he was there. He might have some ability, but he was a failure at Auburn as a HC. Sorry not sorry.

  8. kentuckybackupplayer
    12:34 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    why would barbee leave UK to go to memphis? hell of a downgrade.

    • Mathlete
      1:30 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      He might just be taking the less embarrassing option. I get the feeling like if there are changes coming to the coaching staff, Barbee would be the first one on the chopping block

    • BigBlueNationDude
      5:57 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink


  9. UK Fan In Nashville
    12:35 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    I love how Cal is standing on his tippy toes in this photo.

  10. katmandue2you
    12:55 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    I ain’t got time for dat!! We tryin ta win a National Championship!!!

  11. rosquirto
    12:55 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    UK is definitely not for everyone. 99% of the kids coming thru that are top 100 coming out of high school will NOT be the man when they go to the NBA. They have to know how to play in a team environment, make sacrifices, and play for the team. With the exception of a few other programs (like Duke, Kansas, North Carolina) will you be challenged in practice by players as good or better than you. That’s the only way to get better imo. I still say if you’re a top recruit and UK or one of the other blue bloods wants you, then your a fool to go anywhere else

  12. memphis wildcat
    12:58 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Memphis fans already setting expectations at NCAAT next year, S16 in year 2 (and maybe next year) and FF in 3 to 5 years…They are now saying the players Tubby had (that are below Memphis standards per the fans/media) will help Penny’s recruits win. It is unreal…

    Look up “delusional” in Websters and you will see a picture of a Memphis fan.

    Also, no mention of Barbee on talk radio – not saying it won’t happen but no one wants to discuss any one connected with Cal coming here.

    • jaws2
      1:09 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      No, I’m sorry, but the MOST delusional fan base in America is the uOFsmell base !! It’s not even close!!

  13. bosch8184
    1:03 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Please take Barbee. He sucked at Auburn and recruiting has gone nothing but downhill since he got here.

  14. StuckinLville
    1:05 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Just because these kids are close to Penny doesnt mean they will automatically follow him. Cal has a proven track record and for a guy like Wiseman, knowing Cal has put 3 of the best bigs in the league will be hard to pass on. It’s simple. HOF coach with players making billions or follow your high school coach who has proven nothing.

  15. IAmTheDanger
    1:08 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Something to consider with Wiseman & Jeffries…they may see Penny as a great AAU coach but they may see Cal as the “next step” in their career. They may feel they need to take their talents to the next level with Cal to prepare for the NBA and Cal can do what Penny can’t. I think Cal and UK remain in great shape for both.

    • Mathlete
      1:38 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly! What are they going to learn under Penny that they haven’t yet? Do they want to develop new skills or keep doing the same things?

    • runningunnin.454
      1:44 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      AAU…hah. When they get to Div I college competition, they have to forget all the crap from AAU, and learn the game.

  16. Cat68
    1:23 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Do we really think Coach O would be an option to come back given the NCAA violations under his watch at USF? I would love nothing more but just curious what the thoughts are.

    • dbookno1
      6:26 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Definetly, he is a proven recruiter and he practically built the 38-1 team

  17. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
    1:27 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    As much as you can adore a coach/mentor when they go to one of the worst conferences in every aspect (the exposure will be less than you get now in high school ESPN isn’t coming to have college game day when USF is playing Memphis, competition in terms of coaching and players, the facilities especially at Memphis are poor)

    and on the other hand there’s Kentucky.

    Have you seen their player dorm, it’s right next to a newly renovated locker room/common area made for the basketball team at the Joe Craft Center. ESPN…they play all of their games. Competition at practice, in games, and in the conference are second to none.

    This is such an easy decision

    • Mathlete
      1:39 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Some of our practices are on ESPN! That’s the level of exposure at Kentucky

  18. dismore
    2:01 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Penny will be less successful than Tubby. Lots of early hype, couple of good recruits that don’t do anything, disappointing seasons and he’s fired.

  19. Bobbum Man
    2:08 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Well whether or not they got Hardaway it’s too early to be counting on getting these kids… remember Zion was always a UK lean til he went to duke, Knox was never coming here etc etc, pointless with this long to go but obviously would be great to land both of these kids

  20. trumpetguy
    2:11 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Guys, you are omitting the obvious advantage Penny has with those Memphis area kids. He can tell their parent/s, “you can attend EVERY home game”! Same thing with Mississippi kids who live within a couple hours of Memphis. Close proximity to Memphis BIG selling point for Penny, Think about Shaq’s kid. Shaq himself said his son attending UK would help him, but Mom wanted him to be close to home……… hello UCLA.

    • Kat4Life
      2:17 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      As a parent, would you rather watch your son in college, or in the NBA ??

  21. livingood4UK
    2:21 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not worried about either one of those recruits. UK will be fine with it without them.

  22. dballrb
    3:55 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Uk will be fine with or without D.J. or Wiseman,but lookout,another Fox in the henhouse..

  23. CoachCat
    5:04 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    They knew Memphis had plans on Penny so it’s no surprise. Both kids want one and done careers and you don’t get that with a unproven coach at a school that’s not elite. Seems simple to me.

  24. JMFATZ47
    5:09 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Not exactly why they would follow Hardaway to Memphis. Did Jeffries really not know this was possibly about to happen a week ago? Lol. I say we still get Wiseman