MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tiger basketball team is set to renew its rivalry with the Tennessee volunteers in Knoxville on Saturday. Many are viewing this match-up as a battle between Penny and Vols head coach Rick Barnes.
With Penny being a newcomer to the college coaching rankings, many still want the former NBA All-Star to prove he’s an elite coach.
Barnes is already considered in those ranks as an established name in NCAA basketball. But Tigers point guard Alex Lomax says Penny has nothing to prove, crediting his coach’s ability to win without some of his top players.
“Last four to five games can prove that for him,” Lomax says. “He’s been doing a great job of coaching us. Nobody has us winning this many games without James, and after Lester went down, they didn’t especially expect us to win. I feel like the games before that he did a great job, even last year he did a great job for guys to figure out that he can coach, but this game coming up too we’ll figure out again he still knows how to coach. He knows basketball at the end of the day, so that’s all that matters.”
Penny and the 13th ranked Tigers face 19th ranked Tennessee, at 2 p.m. Saturday, in Knoxville.