basketball

Penny Hardaway being considered for Memphis coaching job

Hardaway, a legend at Memphis and coach of the city' nationally ranked high school, could bring along three talented juniors.


Kahron Spearman


In a shocking report by CBSSports.com, Memphis is contemplating firing head coach Tubby Smith and replacing him with Penny Hardaway (h/t ESPN.)

Hardaway would reportedly target longtime coach Larry Brown as an assistant if he is replacing Smith, per the report.

Smith, who's also coached Kentucky and Minnesota, went 19-13 last season, and the Tigers are currently 19-12 coming into the American Athletic Conference tournament.

But Smith has a serious problem: he's not in line for any of the touted in-city recruits, most of whom play for Hardaway in some capacity.

He was all about winning and team. When I got into college coaching and started going around watching AAU and high schools, I'd see the effect he has on kids in such a positive way. Before Tubby got the job, he was the guy I was hoping would get the Memphis job. I just thought that he came back to his community, which a lot of guys don't always do. He grew up in Memphis. He's doing an amazing job in AAU and now in high school. There's gonna be a lot of college jobs open, unfortunately, and I can't think of many guys more qualified than Penny. At the end of the day, it's how you teach the game, how you care about the kids, how you make the kids accountable and grow up the right way. I think Penny Hardaway is as good a role model as you can possibly have.

A legend at the institution, Hardaway played for the Tigers from 1991 to '93 before a franchise player and a four-time NBA All-Star.

He currently coaches one of the nation's top prep programs at East High School (Memphis, Tenn.) and also runs the Team Penny AAU program on the Nike EYBL circuit. 

ESPN 60 No. 1 junior James Wiseman plays at East, as well as five-star junior Chandler Lawson (No. 26). Five-star junior D.J. Jeffries (No. 17) also plays for Team Penny.

None of these players are currently considering Memphis.

SOU  RCES