Memphis coach Penny Hardaway blasted newshounds’ questions in his postgame press convention in an expletive-laden tirade Thursday night after his Tigers fell to 9-8 (3-4 AAC) with their third straight loss, a 70-62 residence defeat towards SMU. The incident adopted a ask about whether or not he is ever lost religion in his capacity to salvage the job finished at Memphis as he navigates his fourth season on the job with small on-court docket growth to reveal for some impressive recruiting results.
“I contemplate the one thing I can tell to this media, because this media will get extra or less f—ed-up once in a while in terms of me,” Hardaway acknowledged. “We create not have our fleshy roster. Y’all know we create not have our fleshy roster. Quit asking me insensible f—ing questions about if I truly feel cherish I can stop one thing. If I had my roster cherish they did, then I truly feel cherish I can stop despite I need to total. I am instructing truly laborious, my boys are playing truly laborious. I’m not embarrassed about nothing. Now we have four newbies starting. Y’all must act cherish it.
“Act cherish we’ve bought 17, 18 and 19-yr olds out right here making an are attempting to study the capability to play towards 22, 23 and 24-yr-passe guys. Reach on, man. Quit disrespecting me, bro. Design not stop that. I work too f—ing laborious. I work capability too laborious for that. Y’all write all these all these bullshit articles about me, and all I stop is work. Now we have bought younger children on the ground.”
Memphis became with out its main returning scorers from final season in Landers Nolley and Deandre Williams, every of whom are versatile veterans who had been anticipated to support the crew create off of final season’s NIT title. Williams has disregarded four straight games with a support injury, while Nolley has disregarded two straight with a knee injury.
However even with out these two avid gamers, Memphis gentle deployed a rotation consisting of senior guards Tyler Harris and Alex Lomax, as well to 2 juniors in heart Malcom Dandridge and cruise Lester Quinones. Two of the the newbies Hardaway started Thursday had been five-significant particular person possibilities Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, who headlined this technique’s high-ranked 2021 class.
The replace became high-50 prospect Josh Minott. Meanwhile, the fourth starter who Hardaway characterized as a freshman is 21-yr-passe Miami switch Earl Timberlake, who’s listed as a sophomore on the Memphis roster.
Hardaway’s tantrum and insistence on blaming childhood attain as this technique has underperformed for the reason that Memphis administration ousted Tubby Smith following the 2017-18 season to rent Hardaway, a highschool coach revered within the community for his collegiate occupation at Memphis and subsequent NBA stardom. The Tigers began this season ranked No. 12 within the AP High 25 and rose to No. 9 following a 4-0 originate. However since beating Virginia Tech on Nov. 24 to attain 5-0, they are apt 4-8.
While injuries and COVID-19 concerns have plagued the roster, so has disorganization and unhappy instructing. Memphis ranked final nationally in turnovers per sport with 17.9 coming into Thursday’s motion, and its defense has struggled to attain the ranges of dominance it enjoyed in Hardaway’s 2d and their seasons as coach. The Tigers have not yet reached the NCAA Tournament below Hardaway’s perceive, and it appears extra and extra likely that easiest an AAC Tournament championship will salvage them to the Astronomical Dance this season.
The AAC’s favorite, Houston, within the intervening time has successfully navigated injuries to key veterans without a insist this season and is currently the league’s easiest projected NCAA Tournament crew, in preserving with Jerry Palm’s Bracketology.