MEMPHIS – Where’s the Smoke?

After years of wanting ‘all the smoke’, Penny Hardaway has changed his ways a bit, entering his fifth season on the Tigers bench.

Hardaway is not too worried these days about a lack of respect for his program.  Instead,  focused on the actual product, on the floor as the Tigers get set to open the exhibition season Sunday against CBU.

The Tigers are loaded with transfers and experience.

It’s a Tiger team ready to prove they belong among the nation’s best teams, despite receiving just a single vote in the preseason A.P. Top 25.

“You want to be one of those teams that are going to be in the top five and like, hey, we know we’re here, but it’s not the end all. You’ve had teams ranked higher before that didn’t finish well. You had teams that weren’t in the top 25 that finished really well,’ Hardaway said.  “So for me, I guess being quiet is good because we understand who we are now. We’re not searching for anything.  We understand what it takes and what needs to happen. We just have to go do it.”

“Guess we’re the underdogs.  We gotta get out of the mud and come from the bottom. We all like to play with a chip on our shoulders,” said Tigers guard Keonte Kennedy.  “That’s the type of players coach brought in this year, players with chips on their shoulders. So I love it.”

The Tigers and CBU tip off at 4 pm Sunday.