MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s postseason conference tournament time for the Memphis Tigers. Before the festivities get underway at the New Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, the business of naming the best players in the American Athletic Conference is just about complete.
At the beginning of the season, Precious Achiuwa wasn’t the star of this Memphis Tigers Basketball team. But when James Wiseman left and DJ Jeffries got hurt, he took on a new role.
Now you flash to the end of the regular season and he’s a member of the All-AAC Freshman and also a first-team member for the AAC. He’s the only freshman on that list and a unanimous decision; impressing fans and even Penny Hardaway night in and night out.
“He exceeded expectations,” Hardaway said. “What he’s doing, as many double-doubles as he’s had. The only freshman in the country averaging a double-double, I mean you knew that the potential was there, but to actually do it. Then with James leaving and DJ being out and the teams they’re focusing only on him, for him to continue to do that, pretty amazing.”
For his part, Achiuwa credits his coaches for his stellar play this season.
"Obviously, playing for Coach Penny, playing for coach Mike Miller and the type of staff that we have, and obviously the teammates that I have right now, and the people that were on the team, " said Achiuwa. “Things didn’t go well from the beginning... we all came to play with James, but, the issues and circumstances that happened, we wished that couldn’t happen, but, if I had to go back I would make the same decision.”
Hardaway believes Achiuwa deserves Freshman and Player of the Year for the AAC. We will know soon Wednesday who gets those awards.
Stay tuned to WMCActionnews5.com for updates, and make sure to watch for Cassie Carlson’s stories from the Tournament all week on WMC Action News 5.