If you’re a Memphis native, citizen, or Tigers basketball fan, you need to immediately read this article that was published on The Athletic and inject it straight into your veins.
Right now we are at a crossroads in Tigers basketball. It has been a decade since we have competed at the high level that Memphis as a basketball town has come to expect from their boys in blue.
Coach Penny Hardaway has come in and made a splash on the recruiting trail, bringing home the #1 class in the first recruiting cycle where he had full control of the reins.
With this great talent comes great expectations, many of them being set not by fans or media, but by Penny Hardaway himself.
In The Athletic article, written by Dana O’Neil, he makes a bold claim.
“What do I know? I know when I have something special. When I see this group in action, see their abilities, I know what’s at stake and I know what’s out there. The teams like Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, all the usual suspects. I’ve studied the film. I know who they are, but when I look at this group, I just say to myself, ‘We’re going to win a national championship.’ That’s what I know.”Penny Hardaway – Memphis basketball coach
Now Coach Hardaway did backtrack slightly during a Jon Rothstein podcast appearance when he said that all coaches with this kid of talent should be looking to win a national championship.
A large part of the hype surrounding this iteration of the Memphis program revolves around Penny’s ability to recruit and relate to the players he is going after.
Though Memphis does not have anyone committed from the class of 2020 or beyond, they are in the mix with some of the top names in high school hoops.
Last week for the annual Memphis Madness season preview event, multiple high-level recruits were inside the FedEx Forum for the festivities.
This list of guests included Jalen Green — a guard who is the most important target for Penny and co. for the class of 2020 — who was joined by AAU teammate Devin Askew.
Green has announced that he will reveal his commitment on Christmas day this year, a surefire present to some fortunate fan base.
Local prospects Chris Moore, Kennedy Chandler, Moussa Cisse, and Mason Miller rounded out the crew taking in the spectacle in first-person.
Earlier this week, 5-star big man Isaiah Todd crossed Memphis off his list of potential schools when he released a tweet announcing he had narrowed down his list of schools to Michigan and Kansas.
While we don’t know for sure what the roster will look like past this season, we know that this current group of young men will make waves in Memphis and the nation, holding our hearts and emotions in their hands night in and night out.
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Zak (@BarnBurnerBro) is a native Memphian who covers the Memphis Grizzlies, Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals for The Barn. He spends his free time exploring breweries, restaurants, and leading the Ivan Rabb stan club.