Memphis Tigers

Memphis Tigers

(AUDIO) The Future Seems Bright: Despite 2nd Round NIT-Loss Memphis Has Hope (92.9 Team Reaction)

99-Spot KenPom Improvement. Attendance Way Up. City Kids Coming to Memphis. #1 Recruit in America.

March 23, 2019 - 9:13 am

Penny Hardaway changed everything for Memphis. This wasn't about losing to Creighton 79-67 in the 2nd round of the NIT Tournament.  This was about hope, progress, excitement for Penny Hardaway and his staff, recruiting, and the City of Memphis taking back it's team and perceived destiny. 

Tale of the Tape/Ratings:

The truth is some Memphis fans were even rooting for losses toward the end of last year because the OVERALL growth of the program wasn't good enough. Memphis finished 2018 ranked #161 in the KenPom ratings (Ken Pomeroy's important basketball metrics rater). On Saturday (3/23) Memphis rated #62. This despite adding just a few important future pieces in Tyler Harris, Alex Lomax, and Antwann Jones. Penny had little time to find those three after taking over for Tubby Smith. Not to mention, Harris & Lomax were never thought to be players who would ultimately come to Memphis, let alone play TOGETHER for the Tigers.  (Click here to listen to Tyler Harris' commitment to Memphis at Cordova High School ceremony last year.)  Penny Hardaway grew as a coach with his team progressing through the year, and this team grew thanks to the Herculean efforts of a Memphis kid, Jeremiah Martin. 

Recruiting: 

Memphis successfully flipped Kentucky recruits James Wiseman (#1 24/7 Sports Composite prospect in the Class of '19/Memphis East) and DJ Jeffries (Olive Branch). Click here to listen to/read about James Wiseman's commitment ceremony.  Here's Jeffries with Malcolm Dandrige (also a Memphis commit) along with Wiseman in the 92.9 studios during their high school season.

FedExForum/Attendance:

Memphis started 2018-19 with a soldout Memphis Madness event. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Drew Hill (open records request) Memphis averaged 8,813 fans (all games/average) in 2018-19. That's up from 4,583 in 2017-18.

Memphis nearly doubled it performance, it's attendance, and Penny Hardaway has immediately created a recruiting powerhouse.  But it was a Memphis kid, Jeremiah Martin, that we will remember most about this season when it comes to on-court performance.

Here's what the 92.9 On-Air Team Tweeted following the close of the 2018-19 season:

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