Tiger fans react to Tubby Smith being let go as head coach of men’s basketball team

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tubby's out, and the expectations are that Penny is in.

"I think that's an extremely great idea," a Tiger fan said.

Hometown hero, Penny Hardaway, played for the Tigers and ascended to NBA greatness.

U of M freshmen Curtis Neal says he'll recruit better players than Tubby did.

"It's Penny Hardaway. He was an NBA player, you know. They'll be more bound to come to the University of Memphis. He's a better coach and has a better name, you know what I'm saying," Neal asked.

Hardaway's recruiting power extends beyond his name.

He's the founder of an elite youth basketball team and currently coaches East High School's basketball team, which is one of the best in the country.

"I know at East High School they have top recruits. So, maybe there's a possibility they might follow him," Neal said.

Under Tubby Smith, the Tigers were 40 and 26 with no trips to the postseason.

Attendance to games dropped under Tubby, and a lot of fans think Penny will take the program to another level.

"I think that would be really cool. I think we might fill up some seats," Neal said.

But some fans say Tubby didn't get a fair shot.

After all, he's a hall of fame coach who won a national championship with Kentucky in the nineties.

"I think it's more about getting people in the stands," he said.

Tiger fan Levi Roberts says Smith, who only last two seasons, just needed more time.

"I think he was kind of getting his feet firmly planted, and he was making moves in this program. So to be fired this quickly, I thin they kind of cut him short. Absolutely," Roberts said.

Any official announcement about Hardaway is unlikely to happen until his postseason run with East High School is done.

Meaning, it could be next week before it happens.

So, the anxious wait for fans continues.

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