MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With recruiting limited to FaceTime visits, and players trying to find ways to work out on their own, Memphis Tigers Basketball Coach Penny Hardaway is finding life as a college head coach particularly interesting in this age of the coronavirus.
There's definitely a different feel than what this weekend was supposed to be. The Final Four was scheduled to begin in Atlanta. And of course now we're waiting to hear when the sports world will return. We're all making adjustments, including Penny Hardway who is already looking forward to next season.
Hardaway says, “Working out, Netflix, just going on social media reading different things and making a lot of calls to recruits.”
A day in the life of Penny Hardaway.
With the ban on in-person recruiting and the evaluation period postponed he does a lot of it over FaceTime.
“We have some good insight on a couple kids and great relationships with all of the kids so seems like everything was going smoothly,” he said.
Penny expects his coaching staff and roster to stay intact at this point. While also adding three players signing high school seniors, hit the transfer portal or grad transfer market.
“Coming in as a young freshman has the potential to help you the first year and get better.” Hardaway said. “You know they’re going to get better as they get older. A transfer is somebody who can help you right away that you know they can bring a certain gift to the team because they’ve already played and you’ve seen them play and they’re transferring to your team so you already know what they can do. A grad transfer is pretty much an assassin.”
Hardaway got his first 2020 commit. JUCO transfer Ahmad Rand coming from . Rand led the NJCAA averaging five blocks per game. Of course, the Tigers still waiting to hear if Freshman Precious Achiuwa will declare for the NBA Draft.
Hardaway says, “The obvious thing from what he did for the season is that he’s going to leave, but he hasn’t mentioned anything. He hasn’t filled any paper work out, he hasn’t declared. So just waiting on him.”
Achiuwa did talk to NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz on how the Tigers coaching staff helped him develop to play position-less basketball.
Achiuwa says, “It made the game so much easier and simple for me and for the next level, it really doesn’t matter. For me it’s position-less basketball at this point, more about finding mismatches, finding the easiest way to score the ball.”
The NBA Draft is still scheduled for the end of June in New York. Hardaway also said that strength coach Darby Rich has been sending players personal workouts to do while facilities are closed.