Memphis lost again on Thursday night, and Penny Hardaway was not happy about it.
Hardaway, though, wasn’t mad at his players. He directed his ire at reporters.
Hardaway, after the Tigers fell 70-62 to SMU on Thursday for their third straight loss, was asked if he can get the job done at Memphis. That was a fair question, considering the hype surrounding the Tigers and their No. 12 preseason ranking.
Memphis is now 9-8 on the season, and is trending like it’ll miss the NCAA tournament.
When he was asked that question, Hardaway snapped.
“I think the one thing I can say to this media, because this media gets sort of f***ed up when it comes to me, we don’t have our full roster,” Hardaway said. “Y’all know we don’t have our full roster. Stop asking me stupid f***ing questions about if I feel like I can do something … I’m coaching really hard, my boys are playing really hard. I’m not embarrassed about nothing.”
Penny Hardaway's answer to if he can get the job done at Memphis.
"Stop asking me stupid f***ing questions about if I feel like I can do something. If I had my roster like they did, then I feel like I can do whatever I want to do." pic.twitter.com/WA79u6Y7bc
— Cassie Carlson (@CassieCarlsonTV) January 21, 2022
Hardaway then issued an apology in a short Instagram video on Friday night.
Hardaway: ‘I work too f***ing hard’
The Tigers looked bad on Thursday night at FedExForum.
SMU opened the game on a 16-2 run that lasted more than 10 minutes. Memphis didn’t get on the board until a Malcolm Dandridge layup more than six minutes in.
Though the Tigers cut the Mustangs' lead to just two points early in the second half, SMU surged ahead and rolled to the eight-point win behind a 20-point night from Kendric Davis.
Memphis had one starter score in double figures — Jalen Duren had 11 points with nine rebounds — and the Tigers shot 1-of-12 from behind the arc. Tyler Harris was the only other player to score in double figures for Memphis, as he dropped 17 points off the bench while shooting 7-of-12 from the field.
Indeed, Hardaway and the Tigers are dealing with multiple injury issues. Alex Lomax returned Thursday after an ankle injury kept him out of five games, and DeAndre Williams, Landers Nolley, Jayden Hardaway and Chandler Lawson were still out with their own injuries. Hardaway said he’s being “disrespected” because he’s starting four freshmen and isn’t getting credit for working “too f***ing hard.”
“We have four freshmen starting, y’all need to act like it. Act like we’ve got 17-, 18-, 19-year olds out here trying to learn how to play against 22, 23, 24 year old guys,” Hardaway said. “Come on man. Stop disrespecting me bro. Don’t do that. I work too f***ing hard. I work way too hard for that. Y’all write all these bullshit articles about me, and all I do is work.”
For the record, only three players in Memphis’ starting lineup Thursday were freshmen.