"I think about it daily": Memphis HC Penny Hardaway expresses his aspiration to coach in the NBA

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Memphis HC Penny Hardaway expresses his aspiration to coach in the NBA

Memphis Tigers men's college basketball head coach Penny Hardaway appeared on the "Point Forward" podcast with Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala. He talked about his potential future as a coach in the NBA and claimed it would be a dream come true.

Penny Hardaway was a "serious contender" for the Orlando Magic job in June 2021, but Steve Clifford got it instead. In the interview, he said he hopes to coach an NBA team one day:

“It’s actually a dream of mine to coach on the NBA level,” said Hardaway. “I think about it daily. I know I’ll have to pay my dues and come in at whatever level, which is fine.
“(But) my goal is to coach in the league one day. I don’t know when – it could be five years from now, 10 years from now. It could be earlier than that. But I definitely want to do it.”

Before he started coaching college basketball, Hardaway was a gold medalist for Team USA in 1996 and 4x NBA All-Star. He averaged 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat.

Penny Hardaway's coaching career

Hardaway started his coaching journey at Lester Middle School in 2011. He replaced his friend, Desmond Merriweather, as he was undergoing treatment for colon cancer. Hardaway initiated a mandatory tutoring program to have each player graduate from college. He led the Lester Lions to the West Tennessee State title and finished with a 28-3 record for the season.

He took over the Memphis Tigers job in March 2018, replacing Tubby Smith. Hardaway's signing brought an instant lift in the team as he led the Tigers to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), securing the number one recruiting class in the country with the likes of James Wiseman, D.J. Jeffries and Boogie Ellis.

A lot of college basketball coaches have gone on to coach in the NBA, including Mike Montgomery (Stanford to Golden State Warriors in 2004), Brad Stevens (Butler to Boston Celtics in 2013), Tim Floyd (Iowa State to Chicago Bulls in 1998), and more.

How do you think Penny Hardaway will do as an NBA coach?

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