VOL. 133 | NO. 78 | Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Hardaway and Tigers Get Two More Signees
By Don Wade
University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway has added two more players to his roster. Shooting guard Antwann Jones signed with the Tigers after being released from his national letter of intent with Texas A&M. Isaiah Maurice signed after playing one season at Kansas State and one season at South Plains junior college.
University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway has landed two more recruits for 2018. Shooting guard Antwann Jones, a former Texas A&M commit, and junior college forward/center Isaiah Maurice have both signed with the Tigers. (Daily News File/Houston Cofield)
Jones is the 80th-ranked player in the Class of 2018. With earlier signings that include local players Alex Lomax, Tyler Harris and Penny’s son, Jayden Hardaway, the Memphis recruiting class is ranked 29th in the country, according to 247sports.com.
Jones is 6-foot-6 and led Orlando Oak Ridge High to a state championship. He missed part of the 2017-18 season with a fractured bone in his right hand. Before he signed with Texas A&M, he had committed to Oklahoma State, according to the Orlando Sentinel, but backed out after OSU became part of the FBI probe and an assistant coach was fired.
As with Lomax and Harris, former Memphis coach Tubby Smith had recruited Jones but failed to land a commitment.
Maurice, a 6-foot-10 forward/center, averaged 8.8 minutes and three points per game as a redshirt freshman at Kansas State. He helped lead South Plains (Texas) to the NJCAA national championship and averaged 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Maurice, reportedly, was going to go play at New Mexico before Hardaway and Memphis entered the picture.
Football Tigers Also Landing Players
Hardaway is not the only one who has been busy. Memphis football coach Mike Norvell received two commitments from players in the Class of 2019: four-star Whitehaven wide receiver/defensive back Keveon Mullins and three-star Central High defensive tackle Trevis Hopper.
Mullins and Hopper announced they had committed via Twitter and both attended the Tigers’ Friday Night Stripes spring scrimmage game at the Liberty Bowl.
Before the 2018 baseball season started, Memphis Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp and his players were asked what they would do for an encore after winning 91 regular season games in 2017 and then the Pacific Coast League title.
Their answer is now evident on the field: keep on keeping on. With a 7-4 victory over the Iowa Cubs on Monday, April 15, the Redbirds wrapped up a 6-1 homestand and improved to 10-2 on the season. It’s the best start since the 2001 team broke from the gate with a 10-2 mark.
In Monday’s game, outfielder Tyler O’Neill hit two home runs and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Through Monday, O’Neil was 19-for-39 for a .487 batting average and had six home runs and 18 runs batted in.
The Redbirds return to AutoZone Park for a nine-game homestand beginning April 25.
The Unguardable James Harden?
After James Harden scored 44 points with eight assists in the Houston Rockets’ 104-101 victory over Minnesota in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, the Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler had plenty of praise for Harden.
“You don’t just guard him with one guy” Butler said. ”Everybody has to be in the correct position. Challenge shots, contest him at the rim.”
Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said: “Basically, you have to guard him with your whole team. It’s not just his scoring but his playmaking. All the things he does.”
So, given they said that, maybe what Charles Barkley said later on TNT isn’t so far-fetched. Barkley said Harden “might be the most unguardable player I’ve ever seen.”
Barkley and fellow analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith debated who the best all-time scorer is on “Inside the NBA” after Harden’s performance. Shaq and Smith settled on Kobe Bryant.
“All day, every day,” Shaq said.
Michael Jordan, George Gervin and Kevin Durant were essentially relegated to honorable mention status.
Barkley was careful to point out—and Smith and Shaq did the same—that the debate was strictly on scoring ability, not all-around play. Which was why LeBron James didn’t really get into the conversation and why a discussion of best all-around players surely would have left out the defense-deficient Harden.