In this reoccurring series – inspired by Moneybagg’s fire single — the CHIEF breaks down each of the 2018 signees in Memphis HC Penny Hardaway’s inaugural recruiting class. Get to know the new Tigers as we hit on five facts about each player in the order they committed. Always feel free to chirp us at The BarnBurner if y’all have any suggestions or questions. #GTG #TimingIsEverything
Jayden Hardaway | SG | 6-4 | 175 lbs | IMG Academy | Memphis, TN
The often used headline here is Jayden is Penny’s son, but to me, that’s the least interesting thing about Jayden as a hooper. Further research beyond recruiting site composite rankings is especially important for college basketball players, as the “star ratings” typically do not tell the whole tale for any individual player’s skill set. But enough chit-chat, let’s dive into Jayden’s Five [Big] Facts.
(1) Two Hardaways in Florida.
While both of his parents attended the University of Memphis, Jayden played most of his high school ball at Palmetto High School in Miami, FL, where he averaged 12-1-2 per game for his career and served as captain of the varsity squad. Jayden transferred to play under his pops at Memphis East for one season, where he didn’t see a ton of playing time but still played a role on the Mustangs’ State Championship team. Jayden next took the graduate prep school route, honing his skills and building his body through IMG Academy’s (in Bradenton, FL) rigorous training program, where he reportedly grew to 6-5 and upped his muscle to 190 lbs. Given Jayden’s substantial time in Florida, shades of his dad in the now infamous blue pinstripe Magic uni certainly come to mind.
Hold up [wipes eyes] — is that Jayden Hardaway or Ray Allen himself, catching and shooting from the perimeter with a no-hesitation, lighting quick, high release shot? While playing with IMG, Jayden averaged 15 PPG and shot 45% from deep, continuing his reputation as a three point specialist. Based upon Penny’s comments about the offense he intends to run, look for Jayden to come off the bench like a late career Mike Miller to spark the offense on the inevitable occasion the starters’ shots aren’t falling. Penny himself is on the record stating that he believes that Jayden can develop into “the best shooter in college basketball.”
Beyond his ace perimeter shooting, Jayden has proven to be a fairly versatile player, getting to the rim with very few strides and finishing with his long limbs. His game will only be served as he gets stronger and adds more weight to his frame to absorb and finish through contact. Having grown up around the game, Jayden always looks to make off-ball cuts to the rim and is a cerebral hooper, knowing how and when to get to his comfort spots on the floor.
(3) Ivy League Bound?
Through an interview with the Commercial Appeal, Jayden confirmed that he received offers from UNC Greensboro, Delaware and several Ivy League schools shortly before committing to Memphis. Though playing for pops no doubt had some allure, shouts to my guy Jayden for passing up the academic superiority of the Ivy League to play for a smaller commuter school in the AAC.
On September 5th, Jayden made an annoucement via his Instagram account:
Many wondered, with this team’s depth at the guard and wing positions this season, how Jayden would see any time on the floor. Well, it looks like we’ve got our answer. Jayden will redshirt in the 2018-2019 season, preserving another year of eligibility. This redshirt year will also serve as a period for him to get stronger under a Division I workout and eating plan (shoutout to Fresh Food Company). Once the Tubby-era JuCo seniors graduate, at least two rotation spots where Jayden could reasonably get minutes will open up. Of course, Jayden will still complete his freshman academic year and get his reps in practices with the team, but he won’t see any in-game action in the upcoming season. Note: Jayden’s status can still change as we approach the season.
(5) Coaching Change Foresight.
Not surprisingly, Jayden knew well before Tiger Nation that Penny would be the coach.
Per the Commercial Appeal, Jayden explained: “I wanted to announce it earlier because I had known I was going there for a couple weeks,” Jayden Hardaway told the CA. “I was just waiting. I was waiting for my dad to get everything straightened out and he gave me permission to commit.”
While the fans waited on pins and needles, sounds like Jayden knew for a couple weeks that his dad would become the Head Coach at The University of Memphis. Tiger Nation understands the delayed announcement, though, as Penny had another state title to win for East.
Be on the lookout for more BIG FACTS about the other freshman coming soon only at The BarnBurner, and hit me up on twitter @TheBarnChief with any thoughts on this season, the freshmen, or Tiger Hoops!
[banner image: USA Today High School Sports]