MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - New University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway held his first media availability on Thursday.
The former NBA All-Star has had a productive first three weeks on the job, signing 4-star guards Alex Lomax, Tyler Harris, and Antwann Jones as well as 6-10 big man Isaiah Maurice, who just won the JUCO National Championship with South Plains Community College.
"We got into the game really late. To be three weeks in and to be able to get the talent that we assembled was a blessing. The kids came in and they liked what they saw. That's all we can ask for is for kids we recruit to want to come here, and give our school a chance to win a national championship, and give the city some excitement," Hardaway said.
He's been consistent in raising the expectations for Memphis basketball since taking over, and he says that's how it should be.
"You're supposed to shoot for the sky. I feel confident from my relationships with families over the years, when I was in AAU and when I was in high school, and given a fair chance, why wouldn't they want to come here> We're gonna have a lot to offer," Hardaway said.
Hardaway and assistant coach Mike Miller are coming off in-home visits with two highly-ranked local prospects for 2019--James Wiseman, the No. 1 overall player in the class, and Malcolm Dandridge, who's ranked No. 81 overall by 247Sports.
Hardaway also provided an update on his staff, which already includes Miller and Tony Madlock, saying that former NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell is being considered for the third and final spot. Larry Brown is no longer a candidate.
Nike is working on some projects for the U of M basketball team, the details of which Hardaway said he would provide later.
After the press conference, Hardaway jumped back on the recruiting trail, heading to Dallas with one scholarship left to hand out for 2018. Penny made his return to Twitter to celebrate the occasion.