• Penny Hardaway explains preseason for Memphis Tigers basketball

    By: Jonathan Marshall

    Updated:

    Historically speaking, having the nation's top recruiting class would pretty much guarantee a top-five preseason ranking.

    Unless you're the Memphis Tigers. Coach Penny Hardaway understands there are those who doubt and need to see how he handles all of this talent. 

    "Obviously if it were another college, a bigger college, then they would be ranked in the top five if they had the number one recruiting class," Hardaway said. "I guess  it's just in their minds the inexperience of our staff on this level. But that's up to us to make it different." 

    Sophomore guard Tyler Harris took it a step further, saying he feels Hardaway faces doubts from opposing coaches. 

    "I feel like its people around the country, even other college coaches, that probably want him to fail," Harris said. 

    The Tigers will get the chance to prove doubters right or wrong in a few weeks. 

    Those on the outside won't accept any excuses considering the team has two projected lottery picks in James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa among other talented players. 

    Hardaway is excited at the versatility his roster brings and isn't against starting a lineup of all freshmen. 

    "If five freshmen earn those spots I would have no problem with it," he said. "It's just who is going to be the best at their position to win. It's not favoritism. They're going to battle it out in practice. If it's five freshman I don't have a problem with that." 

    The polls may not agree right now, but the Tigers believe a final four run is within reach. 

    "We can be very good," Harris said. "I feel like we can get to the final four."

    The work to answer any and all questions officially begins Tuesday. 

    "I would definitely rank us in the top five," Hardaway said. "I would. I feel like we have the talent. I feel like we have the staff. But we have to prove that. So, wherever they rank us that's fine. We just have to do our work to get higher." 

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