It was 28 years ago today that Penny Hardaway first joined the Orlando Magic. To some, it would have been poetic had Hardaway left Memphis to come to Orlando on this date for the second time. What a perfect day this would have been to announce Penny Hardaway as head coach of the Orlando Magic. If youl excuse me, I gonna go cry now. 9-2020 season, and it was easy to tell he had big ambitions for his coaching career Orlando Magic Custom Hoodie. I think he truly believed he could lead Memphis to a national championship with James Wiseman, but Wiseman ultimately couldn play because of eligibility issues and the tournament got cancelled because of the pandemic. For as deep as Penny roots in Memphis are, he is obviously also connected to Orlando as well. There no higher level than the NBA, and for a young coach like Penny I think interviewing for this job and taking it if it offered is a sensible move. Penny has shown that he can recruit, but what other strengths has he shown as a coach at MemphisOonnell: Penny has proven himself to be nothing less than one of the best defensive coaches in America during the last two seasons at Memphis. This past season, his Tigers finished No. 1 in the country in defensive efficiency out of 357 DI teams. The year before, they finished No. 5 in defensive efficiency. Two other things Penny Memphis teams have reliably done: played with tempo, and emphasized sharing the ball on offense. The Tigers finished top-50 in pace each of the last two years, and assisted on 60. 7 percent of their field goals last season (No. 18 in the country). What would have been the biggest question marks about Penny ability to coach at the NBA level Oonnell: Memphis has yet to have a reliably good offense during Penny three seasons https://www.storeorlando.com/Rj_Hampton_T_shirt-26, so that an easy answer. Here where the Tigers have finished in offensive efficiency since he been head coach starting with the 2018-2019 season: No. 81, No. 210, and No. 117. This isn the say that Penny can coach offense, of course. Talent dictates system, and Penny hasn had a dynamic lead shot creator on campus yet. I be really interested to see what his offense looks like at the NBA level. What does Penny recruiting class look like for the 2021-2022 season and what are the projections for Memphis as a teamOonnell: Memphis ended last season by winning 11 of their last 13 games and capturing the NIT championship, which is typically thought of as a springboard for the next season. They did lose several players to transfer including guard Boogie Ellis (a former five-star recruit), but Penny also landed arguably the best transfer on the market in 68 wing Earl Timberlake. Their recruiting class is solid Mo Bamba Flag, ranked No. 15 overall by 247 Sports, and headlined by top-70 recruit Josh Minott. There isn a Wiseman-level prospect coming in this year, and there are some questions in the backcourt, but I say Memphis could be the second best team in their conference behind Hosuton. If Penny had left, how would his tenure as Memphis coach have been remembered Oonnell: I think it would have been remembered by the excitement his arrival brought the program, and also the bad luck he endured. Memphis has a large and passionate fanbase that was hoping Penny could bring them to the mountaintop. It didn happen because of Wiseman eligibility case and because of the pandemic, but they still had a pretty successful season a year ago and seem to be trending up. How would Penny have been viewed by Tiger fans had he left Oonnell: I am positive Memphis fans would have hated to lose him, but I think the Magic job is the one place where they understand. Special thanks to Ricky for taking the time to talk about Penny and Memphis basketball. Follow Ricky on Twitter at SBN_Ricky.