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BAHAMAS – The wait is over for Tigers coach Penny Hardaway.
Hardaway returns to the Tigers bench Wednesday when the U of M opens play in the Battle for Atlantis down in the Bahamas against the Michigan Wolverines.
While the Tigers come into this tournament 3 and 0, all three wins have come with Hardaway, away from the team on game day, serving out an NCAA imposed three game suspension to start the season.
But with that suspension now in the rear view, Hardaway is back where he belongs.
“I’m very excited. To me getting thrown right into the fire, right away. My first game coaching is against Michigan, who played exceptionally well at St. John’s the other day,” Hardaway said. “But that’s why I love this game. The competitive side of it and getting prepared for a big game. That’s why I came here. That’s why we took the schedule that we have.”
A tournament that will provide a huge stage for the new transfers in the blue and gray. Guys like former St. John’s product David Jones and Alabama star Jahvon Quinerly. Those two have combined to average almost 30 points a game in Memphis’ first three wins.
But over the next three days, the competition will definitely ramp up. Something these tigers are looking forward to.
“We’re just looking to come in here and do what we’ve been doing all summer. Each and every game, I feel like the group’s getting a little bit closer and closer and closer. That’s really what we’re looking forward to doing out here, just getting closer and being able to compete with these teams,” Quinerly said. “Just a little bit of extra bounce in our step. I’m feeling really good coming in. At this point, we’re ready to hoop.”
“I think this is going to be a good opportunity for us and a great test as well,” Jones said. “For us to see how far we’re going to get going through the season.”
The Tigers tip off the Battle for Atlantis at 4pm Wednesday.