It is year five of the Penny Hardaway era in Memphis, and the status quo has drastically changed since the start of his tenure at the American Conference team. His tenure started off with a freshman-centric roster with players like James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa. Now, Hardaway’s squad is the oldest squad in college basketball.
With an average age of 22.8 years old, the Tigers are just under the average age for the youngest team in the NBA (San Antonio Spurs 23.5 years old). Featuring veterans like Alabama-transfer Jahvon Quinerly and Saint John’s transfer David Jones, Memphis is very transfer-heavy, making them the ideal program of the transfer age of college basketball.
Even with a starting lineup of players that all played for different schools last season, The roster is made up of 10 players who previously at other schools, ranging from high-major programs such as Alabama, Florida State and St. John’s to Division II and community college.
Hardaway has found ways to bring the roster together.
“It’s been it’s been quite the transition,” Quinerly said in a postgame press conference after a win over Alabama State. “I came from a program that didn’t shoot too many mid-range [shots] and things of that nature [to] play really, really fast. And coach Penny, he kind of gives you the ability to slow the game down and play at your pace.”
Along with a culture of transfer success, the Tigers have also established a culture of winning.
“I told Penny before I came [and] committed to Memphis that I want to go to a winning program,” Jones said following the Alabama State win. “I saw what he had done in the past two or three years.”
The Tigers head to the Bahamas to play against many high-major teams in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis.