Penny Hardaway Rips 'Jealous' Memphis Vets: Going to Have to Be a 'Complete Assh--e'December 5, 2021
Memphis men's basketball head coach Penny Hardaway provided a blunt assessment regarding his team's veterans following the Tigers' 67-63 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday.
"Everybody's trying to get to the NBA off the ranking we had, but nobody is willing to sacrifice minutes, touches, anything," Hardaway said in an interview with Seth Davis of The Athletic.
"It's been miserable ... I'm going to have to be a complete assh--e from this point on and only play the players that care. The main reason we have these losses is the veterans don't want to take the young guys under their wings. They want it to be about them."
Hardaway also said that there was "so much negativity in our locker room with veterans being jealous."
Memphis began the season with high expectations after adding a pair of highly touted 5-star recruits in Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren. The Tigers, who were No. 12 in the Associated Press preseason poll, rose to No. 9 after a hot start.
However, it's been all downhill after a 5-0 beginning. Memphis lost 78-59 to Iowa State and 82-79 to Georgia before falling to Ole Miss. The Tigers are in danger of falling out of the Top 25 entirely at this point.
In response to the skid, Hardaway promised changes to the starting lineup.
"I guarantee you we'll start winning because you're gonna see guys out there who care and will carry out the game plan," Hardaway said. "They might make mistakes, but there are not gonna be any character issues."
Saturday was a close game but an ugly one for Memphis, which shot just 38.8 percent from the field and 2-of-11 from three-point range. Bates and Duren combined to score just nine points on 2-of-13 shooting, and the Tigers committed 20 turnovers.
Ole Miss didn't fare well offensively either, but 20 points from Jarkel Joiner and 19 more from Matthew Murrell led the Rebels to the win.
Murray State is next on the schedule, with Memphis facing the Racers at home Friday. Murray State is off to a 7-1 start. The Tigers then have a pair of tough games with No. 16 Alabama and No. 13 Tennessee.
In other words, changes are a good idea for Hardaway as the team looks to stop this skid amid a tough stretch.