Memphis is considering firing head coach Tubby Smith and replacing him with Penny Hardaway, according to a report Tuesday by CBSSports.com.
Hardaway, who played for the Tigers from 1991 to '93 before becoming a four-time NBA All-Star, currently coaches East High School (Memphis, Tenn.) and runs the Team Penny AAU program on the Nike EYBL circuit. He coaches ESPN 60 No. 1 junior James Wiseman at East, as well as five-star junior Chandler Lawson (No. 26). Five-star junior D.J. Jeffries (No. 17) plays for Team Penny.
As it stands, Memphis is not considered a threat to land any of those three prospects, which is one of the reasons the Tigers are considering a change, sources told ESPN. Smith went 19-13 last season, and sits at 19-12 heading into the American Athletic Conference tournament this season. However, the program's expectations have greatly diminished since Smith took over for Josh Pastner. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, attendance at Memphis games this season is the lowest since 1969-70. Under John Calipari and Pastner, the Tigers regularly ranked among the top 15 programs nationally in average attendance.
The Tigers are bringing in just two players next season, three-star center Connor Vanover and unranked shooting guard Myreon Jones.
Smith has a $9.75 million buyout, as his contract requires Memphis to pay Smith's full salary if it fires him.
?Hardaway would target Larry Brown as an assistant coach were he to replace Smith, according to the report.