Brown, 80, has extensive coaching experience in both college and the pros. He last served as a head coach at SMU from 2012-2016. Brown is a good coach but frequently has gotten into trouble with the NCAA, which is what happened at SMU.
Hardaway, 49, has been the head coach at Memphis for three seasons. His team went 20-8 last season and won the NIT.
A surprise name is emerging as a serious candidate for the vacant Orlando Magic head coaching position.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway has interviewed for the Magic head coaching job and is regarded as a serious candidate. The 49-year-old has strong ties to Orlando, where he is a franchise icon after playing there between 1993-1999.
Hardaway has become renowned for his player development skills at Memphis, and has forged many relationships throughout the basketball community. That could fit nicely with a very young Orlando roster that is currently in the midst of a significant rebuilding phase. Hardaway was linked to the Orlando job earlier in the process, but it did not appear to be serious at that point.
Whoever takes the Orlando job will likely have to endure some losing, but there is young talent in the organization that can be nurtured into something. There hasn’t been a lot of news on the vacancy lately, though it sounds like this candidate is another finalist.
On his podcast this week, FOX Sports college basketball analyst Aaron Torres said that he has heard similar talk. Torres specifically said there is some buzz about Hardaway possibly going to the Magic.
There is history between Hardaway and the Magic that makes sense for him to be a candidate.
The 49-year-old began his career with the Magic and developed into 4-time All-Star in Orlando. Maybe they feel, or he could convince them, that he is right for the job. Hardaway was already able to convince Memphis to hire him, selling them on his grassroots experience and history as a star player there.
Is it a longshot for Penny to be hired? Perhaps, but there are now so many NBA coaching jobs available, teams will have to dig deep for a few hires. Maybe the thought of Penny coaching in the NBA isn’t so much of a reach.
Could Penny Hardaway make the leap from college coaching to the NBA? He might get an opportunity to do so.
Hardaway is receiving interest from NBA teams, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday. Woj says that teams are gathering intel on Penny and that Hardaway will have a chance to interview for head coach jobs.
Hardaway, 49, played in the NBA from 1993-2007 and was a four-time All-Star as a player. He has been involved in coaching since 2011. He coached at a high school in Memphis and developed recruits and contacts, which allowed him to take the job at his alma mater, Memphis.
Penny has been the head coach at Memphis for three seasons. His team went 20-8 last season and won the NIT.
Hardaway hasn’t exactly blown away the competition at the college level. But maybe his name recognition and NBA playing experience would command respect at the professional level. We definitely know that people are passionate about him.
James Wiseman is a new, emerging big man in the NBA and looking to find his place in the league. Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 Draft by the Golden State Warriors. In seven games this season, he is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Wiseman is very close to Penny Hardaway, who coached him in high school and then briefly at Memphis before Wiseman was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Hardaway was a four-time NBA All-Star and teamed with Shaq in the early ’90s to form a dynamic duo on the Orlando Magic.
“He doesn’t have the meanness that Shaq had all the time. Shaq had a chip. Shaq always had a plan. And Shaq always knew he was the best. James carries that chip now. But Shaq always knew he was the chosen one. Shaq came from a different path. He had a military base stepfather. That military background helped Shaq be tougher. James was raised with women. He had his mom and his sister. They kind of babied him and spoiled him, not in a bad way. They were firm. But it wasn’t the same,” Hardaway said (full interview here).
Wiseman knows that he didn’t have that physical toughness, which is why Hardaway wanted to coach him at a public high school in Memphis. That’s when Wiseman began toughening up physically, to complement his mental toughness.
Shaq enjoys advertising his place among big men and putting others down. In this case, he won’t have to because Hardaway set things straight.
Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway were teammates on the Orlando Magic for three seasons and enjoyed success during that time, and they got along well. Except for one incident.
On TNT Tuesday, Shaq shared the story of the one time he and Penny got into a fight. He shared the story because Hardaway was on the program as well.
“Me and Penny had one fight, and I’m going to tell you what happened,” Shaq said. “I was coming out with a new shoe Super Bowl weekend. And the commercial was me stepping on Lil’ Penny. That dude was so mad at me, he didn’t talk to me for three weeks.”
This appears to be the commercial:
“Lil’ Penny” is a puppet character, voiced by Chris Rock, that was created as part of an advertising campaign by Nike to help sell Penny’s shoes. Shaq was with Reebok at the time, which explains why he had somewhat of a sneaker rivalry with his then-teammate.
It sounds like they worked things out.
The Magic won at least 50 games and reached the playoffs in all three of the seasons that they had Shaq and Penny together. They even reached the NBA Finals in their second season together, where they lost to the Houston Rockets. Of course, things did not work out for Orlando as the team envisioned. Shaq left for the Lakers after four seasons in Orlando, while Penny’s promising career was derailed by a knee injury.
A fight between two men that is said to have centered on Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway nearly turned fatal last week.
According to WREG in Memphis, two cousins got into an argument over Hardaway that became physical. The victim told police the argument began over whether or not Hardaway was a good coach and that his cousin, Tyrone Taylor, punched him in the face before pulling out a gun and shooting him in the chest.
Taylor was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with attempted second-degree murder, employment of a firearm and being a convicted felon in possession of a gun. Fortunately, the victim survived.
Hardaway was hired as the head coach at Memphis in 2018. He was at the center of some controversy this past season when potential NBA lottery pick James Wiseman was ruled ineligible because of money his family allegedly received from Hardaway. The Tigers are 43-24 in two seasons under Hardaway.
Penny Hardaway could be adding a familiar face to his staff at Memphis.
Mark Giannotto of the Commercial Appeal reported on Tuesday that two-time NBA champion Mike Miller could join Hardaway as an assistant for the Tigers. Miller and Hardaway first met to discuss the possibility of joining forces last month and then did so again earlier this week.
Giannotto adds that Miller is also fielding interest from Louisville, Florida (his alma mater), and TCU (where his older brother Ryan is an assistant).
The 38-year-old Miller, a 17-year NBA veteran, last played for the Denver Nuggets in the 2016-17 season. He also had two separate stints with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2003 to 2008 and from 2013 to 2014.
“I would like to thank God and my family for helping me make this decision. I would also like to thank the coaches that showed interest and offers throughout the years. It is with great excitement that I am announcing my commitment to both of my parents Alma Mater, the University of Memphis‼️” Hardaway wrote.
Despite having his father’s name and playing for Team Penny in travel ball, Hardaway was not heavily recruited. A story from the Memphis Commercial Appeal last year said he was the only player on Team Penny without a Division I scholarship offer. The same was the case with him among Memphis East High School’s starters. But now he has a college home at his father’s program.
Penny Hardaway is looking to return the Memphis basketball program to its days as a perennial NCAA Tournament presence, and one of the ways he hopes to do that is by taking on some of the best teams in the nation.
Hardaway, who agreed to replace Tubby Smith this week as the next coach of the Tigers, said one of his first orders of business will be calling coaches like John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski in an attempt to schedule games against their teams.
“I want to play the big boys. I want to know where we stand. I want to go against those guys and learn what makes them great,” Hardaway said. Said he’d call Calipari, he’d call Duke, he’d call Michigan State. Wants to schedule tough because that’s what the fans want.
Memphis reached the Elite Eight twice and played in the NCAA championship game once in Calipari’s final four seasons with the team from 2005-2009. The Tigers were considered a national powerhouse at the time, and they went on to make four NCAA Tournament appearances under Josh Pastner from 2010-2014. Memphis parted ways with Pastner after the team failed to reach the tournament in two seasons after that, and Smith didn’t do much to improve things.
Hardaway wasted no time landing his first recruit after he was hired by Memphis, and that should be one of his strongest areas. If the former NBA star can find ways to attract top talent to the program, scheduling games against teams like Duke and Kentucky shouldn’t be much of an issue.