The basketball program at the University of Memphis has fallen on some hard times. Ever since Tubby Smith was hired to replace Josh Pastner in 2016, the Tigers haven’t had much going for them, as evidenced by a pair of 19-win regular seasons. These struggles have been reflected in the team’s KenPom ratings (Memphis is currently 164th nationally) and in recruiting (247Sports says the Tigers have the N0. 60 recruiting class in America).
With all of these issues — which also include poor season-ticket sales and attendance numbers — Memphis is reportedly considering going in a potentially popular direction. According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, Smith could be on the way out at the end of the year.
Should that happen, the name to watch to fill his spot would be former Tigers legend Penny Hardaway, who has never been a college coach but is cutting his teeth elsewhere in the coaching world.
The former NBA All-Star currently runs the Team Penny Nike EYBL program and serves as the coach at East High in Memphis — where he has assembled an incredible roster favored to soon win a state championship. Between Team Penny and East, Hardaway has ties to three top-40 players in the Class of 2019 — No. 1 James Wiseman, No. 26 D.J. Jeffries and No. 40 Chandler Lawson.