College Basketball

University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway stops by 'Undisputed'

April 3

A legend stopped by the "Undisputed" set on Thursday.

University of Memphis head coach and retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway made an appearance to discuss all things basketball with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe.

Hardaway starred at Memphis for three seasons from 1990 to 1993 before being drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the third overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He was quickly traded to Orlando, where he teamed up with Shaquille O'Neal to form a dangerous Magic team.

Hardaway played 14 seasons in the NBA. He was named an All-Star four times and won an Olympic gold medal playing for the United States in 1996.

He returned to his alma mater in 2018 as the head coach and is now working to revive a once-proud basketball program.

Here are the top moments from his appearance on "Undisputed."

Breathing life back into Memphis basketball

The Memphis Tigers have yet to make the NCAA Tournament under Hardaway's guidance, with their most recent tournament berth coming in 2014.

But in his two seasons at the helm, the Tigers have produced two first-round draft picks: 2020 No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman and 2020 No. 20 pick Precious Achiuwa.

Couple that with a 2021 NIT championship, and Hardaway believes the Tigers are close to being a powerhouse once again.

"I think we are very close. I think we are a couple of players away — maybe one player away with the recruiting class that I have right now — from being a national powerhouse again. We are on our way."

The end of the one-and-done era?

Traditional college basketball powerhouses such as Duke and Kentucky have come to be known for having rosters full of freshman phenoms that can compete for national championships year in and year out.

But with both missing the NCAA Tournament this season, the 2021 Final Four has four teams – Gonzaga, Baylor, Houston and UCLA – that among them feature a single one-and-done-caliber player in Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs.

Hardaway spoke about Gonzaga's dominance this season and the importance of veteran players at the collegiate level.

"I think it is more of a veterans' style of play on this level. I think young guys can win games. I just don't know if they can win championships. You've got to have older guys on your team."

What could have been in Orlando

Before a knee injury during the 1997-98 season, Hardaway was one of the top guards in the NBA. He was named to three All-Star games in his first four seasons.

He also formed one of the best dynamic duos of the '90s with Shaq.

The Magic were the only team to defeat Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs during their incredible run to six championships in the '90s, knocking Chicago out in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals on the way to Orlando's first NBA Finals appearance.

Hardaway believes that if he and O'Neal had stayed together, they would have eventually delivered a championship for the Magic.

"I know that if I would have stayed healthy and Shaq would have stayed in Orlando, we would have at least won one or two championships."

The GOAT debate

Of course, there was no way Hardaway was going to get out the door without making his pick for the greatest basketball player of all time: Jordan or LeBron James?

Watch the full interview below!


Get more from College Basketball Add to your favorites to get information about games, news and more.


share story