MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Coming off their biggest win of the season, a thumping of unbeaten Auburn over the weekend, Penny Hardaway and the Tigers got even more good news Monday as talented transfer Damaria Franklin has finally been cleared to play by the NCAA.
Franklin missed the Tigers’ first ten games but will play Tuesday when the U of M travels to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
Franklin came to Memphis after playing at Illinois-Chicago last year where he averaged almost 18 points and seven rebounds while earning all-Horizon league honors.
Hardaway has said since Franklin arrived on campus, that the 6’3” guard was his team’s third-best player.
As for what to expect now that Franklin is finally eligible?
“It’s a defensive presence right away. Very tough. Very physical. A guy that’s just a grit and grind guy. That’s what he brings immediately,” said Penny Hardaway. “We don’t know offensively what’s going to happen because making shots, just is what it is. But bringing energy, bringing defense, and bringing toughness, he would bring that right away.”
Franklin now joins the fold with guys like DeAndre Williams and Kendric Davis who, for the second time in three weeks, was named the American Athletic Conference player of the week Monday.
Davis did a number on those other Tigers Saturday when he had his best game as a Memphis Tiger, scoring a game-high 27 points to go along with a career-high-tying nine rebounds and six assists in that 82-72 win over Auburn.
That’s not to say Davis and the Tigers still don’t have more left to prove.
Despite beating Auburn for their sixth straight win, Memphis is still not ranked in the A.P. Top 25.
The Tigers are just outside the poll at 26th as they get ready to take on a Tide team that’s moved up to fourth in the country after its win over last week’s number-1, the Houston Cougars.
The Tigers and the Tide from Tuscaloosa, Tuesday at 8 pm.