(Picture from Google images)
Last year’s Memphis flop-fest was a game plan Memphis head coach, Penny Hardaway, stole straight from the Duke Blue Devils playbook. The exaggeration of flopping just showed that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in Memphis. Remember the slight trash talk at the end of the game between UT’s Jordan Bone and Memphis’s Alex Lomax that lead to both teams getting technical fouls? Penny summarized the conversation as: “The entire Tennessee team ran over to fight. Their entire team emptied the bench to come over. They weren’t coming over because it was a timeout. You could visibly see guys with their fists balled, talking trash to our guys. It was almost like a standoff.” Fake news has never been more accurate.
When the game was over, Barnes took the victory and moved on to the next game while Hardaway was still trying to believe his own delusional mindset by saying Rick Barnes was low class and tried to act like “flopping” isn’t a skill they practice every day. In true “high class” fashion, Hardaway ended his press conference by saying “Rick Barnes, get the F-bomb out of here”. (Mom, I’m just repeating what Hardaway said and no, I did not tell him to say it.)
The in-state rivalry just got a lot more fun. It’s probably best I am not in Thompson-Bowling Arena for this Saturday’s game. I would sneak in a dry erase board to hold up messages for that high-class Hardaway and ask my mom not to watch how many times I can drop an F-boom too.
Memphis is currently ranked #13 in country while Tennessee is ranked 19th. But Memphis’s projected #1 NBA draft pick, James Wiseman, will be on the bench. Talk about more high-class from Hardaway, he “allegedly” gave $11,500.00 to Wiseman’s family when he was a junior in high school to help his family move to Memphis! Hardaway may have not been the head coach at the time of the alleged check, but as an Alumni, Hardaway is a definition booster for Memphis. So how did the NCAA only give him a 12-game suspension? I don’t know who flops more, the NCAA or Memphis? (Pearl was fired for a small BBQ!)
A victory on Saturday would give Coach Rick Barnes his 700th career victory and continue the Vols 31 game home win streak. Beating Hardaway, again, in Thompson-Bowling Arena in front of a sold-out crowd would show Hardaway how to show some class.