MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Penny Hardaway’s arrival at the U of M, as the head men’s basketball coach, has put an extra emphasis on winning with talent from the city of Memphis.
In the 2017-18 season, point guard Jeremiah Martin was the only Memphian who contributed key minutes for the Tigers, but this year, with the arrival of point guards Alex Lomax, from East high school, and Tyler Harris, from Cordova high school, the team has more of 901 flavor to it.
But, Martin said being from Memphis and playing for the University of Memphis isn’t as easy as it may sound.
“You’ve got so many people that want to be around you," Martin said. "Want to give you their advice. They really don’t know what goes on on a daily basis. They only see you when the lights come on.”
As a senior and a leader on the team, Martin gives advice to Lomax and Harris.
“Don’t have a whole lot of people you’re talking to," Martin said. “Have that one person that you can talk to whenever you want to about anything, and also someone that’s going to be truthful to you, and not just telling you the right stuff.”
For Martin, that person is his former Mitchell high school head coach Faragi Phillips, who now coaches at Whitehaven high school.
“I can talk to him about anything," Martin said. "He’s going to let me know he’s not going to bail me out of every situation. Even if I’m down. He’s going to tell me, I have to find a way out of it. Which basically is doing what the coach says. Just not giving me any shortcuts, because he’s never given me a shortcut, ever.”
Martin and the Tigers open exhibition play against LeMoyne Owen College Thursday at 7 pm at FedExForum.