MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis Tigers players are already plotting out their business mixed with pleasure trip to the Bahamas next week.
“I either want to go on a jet ski or jump off a boat,” sophomore guard Tyler Harris said. “Something crazy. Something crazy like that.”
Fellow sophomore guard Alex Lomax is feeling similar vibes.
“I know I want to be on a boat,” Lomax said. “I want to go on a cruise or something, you know?”
With a roster filled with fresh faces, though, coach Penny Hardaway is making sure the business element isn’t pushed to the side.
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“We’re just trying to figure out who’s who,” Hardaway said. “What lineups work well together and the chemistry out there on the floor with the guys.”
The Tigers will play four exhibition games, including one against the Bahamas national team.
Hardaway doesn’t want to breeze through the Bahama competition.
“I mean if you’re going to go beat everybody by 30, 40 points, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m just saying then guys kind of get a false sense of what it’s really like. Especially for these freshmen.”
The Tigers will feature the top-ranked freshman class in the nation, including top recruit James Wiseman, who played high school ball at East High.
Hardaway enters 2019 with a lofty goal of UofM being one of the top defensive teams in the nation.
He said he’s studied the schemes of national champion Virginia, Texas Tech and Cincinnati.
“As physical as we can play and the refs will allow us, we want to push those to the limits for sure,” he said. “Every possession.”
The Tigers also hope the bonding element of the trip goes a long way in the continued building of chemistry.
“Guys are starting to hang out more off the court,” Lomax said. “On the court we’re very close. Every day just with time we’ll be real close.”
The Tigers have an interesting mix of talented newcomers and returnees looking to take on leadership roles. So far, both sides are saying the right things when it comes to supporting each other.
Hardaway wants this to truly be the case when the games begin.
“We want to see the guys genuinely be happy for one another and other guys success on the team,” Hardaway said. “Not make it be about you.”
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