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Reports: Anfernee Hardaway agrees to be next coach at University of Memphis

From NBA media reports

It seems it is time to add another former NBA All-Star to the college coaching ranks.

According to ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, the University of Memphis has agreed to a deal for former Tigers star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway to become the school’s next coach. Hardaway would replace Tubby Smith, who was fired after just two months earlier this season. The news was also reported by Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal.

Here’s more from Goodman on Memphis’ new coach:

Former Memphis star Penny Hardaway has agreed to a deal to become the next Tigers men’s basketball coach, and a news conference is expected on Tuesday, sources told ESPN.

Memphis’ hire looks to add some life to a program that has struggled in the latter years of the Tubby Smith regime. Smith won 19 games his first year and 21 the second, but the Tigers didn’t make any postseason tournaments, and attendance has been down.

Hardaway isn’t your typical former NBA player, as he has coached AAU basketball in the summer and also won his third consecutive state title as the head coach of Memphis East High this past weekend.

Hardaway has ties to some of the top players in the area, including top-ranked junior James Wiseman.

Over the weekend, Hardaway led East High School to its third-straight TSSAA Class AAA state championship. Memphis finished with a 21-13 record this season but missed the postseason for the fourth straight year.

Hardaway rose to stardom playing alongside fellow superstar Shaquille O’Neal on the Orlando Magic teams of the mid-1990s. He was a four-time All-Star from 1995-98 and made the All-NBA first team 1993-94, ’94-95 and ’95-96 and the All-NBA third team in 1996-97. Hardaway, who played 14 seasons in the NBA, helped drive the Magic to their first NBA Finals berth in 1995 — a series in which they were swept by the Houston Rockets.

Hardaway played for the Magic for six seasons, averaging 19 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.95 steals. However, his tenure with the Magic did not end smoothly. He clashed with then-coach Brian Hill in 1997, taking part in a player revolt that led to the former coach’s firing. Hardaway was also hampered by a knee injury suffered early in the 1997-98 season that sapped him of some of his athleticism.

The Magic traded him to the Phoenix Suns in August of 1999, where Hardaway played 4 1/2 seasons before being dealt to the New York Knicks. His last season in the NBA came in 2007-08, where he teamed with O’Neal as a member of the Miami Heat.

Last year, the Magic made Hardaway the fifth player in team history to be inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame.

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