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After Memphis’ Latest Loss, Head Coach Penny Hardaway Passes Blame Onto His Players

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Michael Wyke/Associated Press

On Wednesday night, Memphis dropped their second straight game. Following a 19-point loss to an Iowa State team that was picked to finish last in the Big 12, the Tigers lost to a Georgia team that had a losing record and was on a four-game losing streak.

With two potential top-five draft picks and the No. 1 class of 2021, this team was set to be the one that would show that Memphis and Penny Hardaway are the real deal. However, early in the season, that does not look to be the case.

Not only are they not performing to their preseason expectations, but it also looks like there is some turmoil within the team as Penny Hardaway seemingly passed all the blame onto his players in his postgame radio interview following the loss.

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“There aren’t enough guys in that locker room who care about winning unless they are the ones that are helping us win. It’s not team. That’s the danger of having a lot of talent. The talent has to want to play together & right now the talent doesn’t want to play together.”

Rather than taking accountability and leading a team that he put together, he publicly calls out college kids. While I believe accountability is important, I don’t believe it should be done in that fashion.

To me, this is a testament to how good Calipari and Coach K are at replacing and coaching talent with major roster turnover season after season. Both are Hall of Fame coaches, and even though they have had bad seasons in their careers, you rarely see them pin issues or losses on their players.

Hardaway has had the No. 1 class in two of his four seasons, has failed to make the tournament (2019-20 NCAA Tournament was cancelled), and has a 2-5 (33%) record against ranked teams. He may be one of the best recruiters in the country, but even with a Hall of Fame assistant coach in Larry Brown, he hasn’t proved that he can put the pieces together to win.

Things need to be fixed in a hurry as Memphis is set to play even better competition before entering their conference schedule, playing Alabama (Dec 14th) and Tennessee (Dec 18th).

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Men's Basketball

Future Hall of Fame Coach Says Tyrese Maxey “Is the Most Impressive Young Player I’ve Ever Had”

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NBA/Philadelphia 76ers

The 2019-2020 Kentucky’s men’s basketball team will be a team that fans will ask “what if”.

Featuring four players averaging double-figure points, the team consisted of the SEC Player of the Year (Immanuel Quickley) and three total All-SEC selections (Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey), winning the SEC regular season championship by three games.

While that team did lose to Evansville at Rupp Arena in November, they were clearly playing their best basketball in March and could have contended for a national title before all postseason tournaments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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While that team couldn’t show out in the NCAA tournament, Quickley and Maxey have both impressed and proven they belong in the NBA. In fact, NBA championship-winning and future hall of fame coach, Doc Rivers, called Maxey the most impressive young player he has ever coached while on The VC Show with Vince Carter.

“He’s the most impressive young player I’ve ever had in 21 years of coaching. So that’s how impressive he is. His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief. I mean many times, already this summer at least two or three times, we’ve had to tell him to go sit down somewhere and go relax. He works with Sam Cassell and my son Spencer as they’re skill development coaches and he called Spencer two weeks ago because, like I guess like Ros (Gold-Onwude), he went on the vacation. The difference Ros is this is the first vacation he’s ever been on in his life is what he told us and I was like, ‘Wait, what?‘ he said ‘No, I’ve never been on vacation’ and he asked Spencer, ‘What do you do on vacation?’ True question like ‘What do you do on vacation?’ And Spence was like, ‘You relax.’ And he’s like, ‘For how long? For how many days? I mean, we’re going through a week. I can’t relax for a week.‘”

That is high praise from such a respected coach but it is well deserved.

Last season, Maxey started 74 of the 75 games he was available for the 76ers, averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds on 42.7 percent from three, the third-best mark in the NBA.

Next season, Maxey will look to make an even larger jump and make it past the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in his young career. With three other NBA All-Stars on his team (Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tobias Harris) the talent is there to do it.

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Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe Have Two Games Circled This Season

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UK Athletics

On Tuesday, the Kentucky men’s basketball team hosted an open practice in conjunction with a telethon to help those affected by the floods in eastern Kentucky. While there was some basketball shown and some basketball talk, it was secondary to the larger purpose.

However, despite the limited basketball talk, there were a few takeaways.

During the Q&A segment of the event, one fan asked the players who they were most looking forward to playing this upcoming season are there are plenty of options for them to choose from: Gonzaga, Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas, and UCLA.

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Two players responded without hesitation, Jacob Toppin answered Louisville and Oscar Tshiebwe followed with Auburn.

Of course, last season’s matchup with Louisville was cancelled due to COVID protocols for Louisville, and the season before that (Toppin’s first season at UK), the Cardinals beat Kentucky. Therefore, it seems that Toppin wants to avenge that loss this season and with Louisville’s current roster, that will most likely happen.

As for Tshiebwe, it seems to be a case of avenging last season’s loss as well.

During last season’s matchup against Auburn, the Wildcats pulled out to an early double-digit lead, but ended up losing 80-71 after TyTy Washington went down with an ankle injury, and later Sahvir Wheeler with a concussion.

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Following the Tigers’ win, their reaction was far from what would be expected of the then No. 2 team in the country, as they celebrated as if they had won the national championship.

While Toppin and Tshiebwe are awaiting the Auburn and Louisville games to avenge their losses, so is the Big Blue Nation.

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Men's Basketball

Kentucky Basketball Raises $2.4 Million for Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief

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UK Athletics

On Tuesday, the Kentucky men’s basketball team hosted an open practice at Rupp Arena alongside a telethon hosted by Joe and Kelly Craft, LEX 18, and the American Red Cross to help raise money for eastern Kentucky flood relief.

The event was spearheaded by the men’s basketball players, notably Covington native CJ Fredrick, and was organized in less than 48 hours. In the end, the event raised $2,410,000, which will be going to the American Red Cross to benefit the immediate needs of Kentuckians impacted by the floods.

In addition to direct monetary donations, youth and adult “One Team Relief” tees (shown below) can be purchased for $25 at Kentucky Branded or directly through this

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